Handmade Life Press Quotes
"Chris Wood has developed into an exceptional songwriter …venturing into areas that few artists would dare tackle."
The Guardian ★★★★
"Wood"s tongue is truer than most."
"It really needs to win an award. The band is a marvel and Wood's unpretentious singing carries real weight."
"Chris Wood again defies those who foolishly try to second guess him."
"The depth of contempt that Wood summons up is astonishing in its power. This is undoubtedly one of the albums of 2010, regardless of genre."
Americana UK.com ★★★★★
"Highly charged observations on life, love and country"
"Wood delivers masterpieces… from politics to vegetable patches, he has it covered on this expansive new album."
Songlines – Top Of The World ★★★★
"Understatement and intonation are Wood"s trademarks and his scalpel is so artistically applied you scarcely see the cut. Confirms him as one of English music"s most potent, if complex, talents"
“Chris Wood is at it again, seamlessly melding the personal with the political without any trace of creative fatigue. He's simply an artist in command of a rare talent.”
Spiral Earth ★★★★
"I"ll warn you now: the sheer sophistication and beauty of Handmade Life will smack you right between the eyes. Definitely one of the finest folk albums of the year."
E.F.D.S. Joan Crump
"You will be hard pressed to find another recording that is quite so attuned with public sentiment in these times of mistrust and indignation"
"Chris Wood personifies the quiet anger that we in the UK do so well… it would be my greatest hope that before any thick, over drugged, under read rock star tries to make a political statement they would listen to this and see how an artful songwriter can make a point without sacrificing standards."
"This really is one hell of an important album. It"s brilliant. It"s also entirely distinctive and simply sounds like no-one else… Genius."
David Kidman – Net Rythms
"You don"t have to be a "folkie" to get it - at its heart it"s decent, honest handmade music for decent, honest handmade people. Something the world needs more than ever right now… "
"I love this album, my album of the year."
CHRIS DIFFORD (Squeeze)
Chris Wood Bio
Chris Wood started out as a choirboy and much of his music bears the influence of those years spent with the likes of Bach, Handel, Gibbons and Boyce: he describes the album Handmade Life as "church music with drums."
Self-taught on guitar and violin, he is a lifelong autodidact -- and his independent streak shines through in his composition and studio work. Always direct and unafraid to speak his mind, his song writing has been praised for its surgical clarity. His work is typified by his trust in the space music can create and a gift for lyrical understatement. He cites his major influence as "Anon".
Throughout his career independence has been balanced by collaboration. The artists he has worked with include Billy Bragg, Andy Gangadeen, Andy Cutting, Jean François Vrod and Hugh Lupton (Wood and Lupton's "One in a Million" won Best Original Song at the BBC 2 Folk Awards in 2006). Recently he has worked alongside Martin and Eliza Carthy and others in The Imagined Village: "Cold Haily Rainy Night", performed by Wood and Eliza Carthy, took the award for Best Traditional Song at the Folk Awards in 2008.
He set up R.U.F Records in 1992 and this label continues to carry his catalogue. He also founded The English Acoustic Collective, a movable feast of musicians, writers, photographers and choreographers who look to England's indigenous arts as their inspiration.
His first solo album, The Lark Descending, was released in 2006 to wide acclaim. “A lyrical, pensive album ... possessed of a timeless quality.”
-- The Observer Music Monthly
The title stands Vaughn Williams' English icon on its head -- Wood's songs make no apology for celebrating what he has called the "unofficial" history of the English people.
In 2009 his album, Trespasser, took on the idea of enclosure: spiritual, intellectual, cultural and physical. Billy Bragg writing in The Independent said “Come Down Jehovah, is a measured statement of atheism that puts Dawkins to shame!” Wood went on to receive "Album of The Year" and “Singer of the Year” from BBC Radio Two.
He has been more reticent about the genesis of Handmade Life -- but the material clearly stems from a desire to explore a less human-centered world, and a world more engaged with the actual than the virtual.
"It's all the little things are what we find that matter now that the circus has left town".