Lush piano, rich lyrics highlight sophomore CD
royal wood photo
Many artists cringe when compared to others, but Royal Wood likes to confront comparisons and get them out of the way immediately.
On Wood’s MySpace page, under Sounds Like, he’s described “as if a singer-songwriter like Ron Sexsmith was a bus and ran into a piano cabaret songwriter like Rufus Wainwright.”
He admits he came up with it.
“I’ll be honest, that was tongue-in-cheek … those are the comparisons I get, or the Jeff Buckleys, which is fine and highly taken as a compliment, but I figured why not just nip it in the bud and quote it myself?” he says.
Wood is often described as a prodigy and on his sophomore album, A Good Enough Day, he wrote, performed and produced all 12 tracks and arranged all the strings, with the exception of one song. When asked how many instruments he can play, Wood claims he honestly doesn’t know.
“I have truly never counted … I play by ear so as a kid anything I wanted to try, I pretty much tried,” he says.
His new record, released this week on Emm Gryner’s Dead Daisy Records label, is a beautiful album immersing the listener with his lush piano and rich vocals. Wood writes from the heart and even references Shakespeare in Juliet.
“I definitely was a huge fan of Shakespeare in high school, probably one of the few in my class I think,” Wood says, explaining his use of tragic heroines, Juliet and Ophelia.
A Good Enough Day translates as a sincere, slightly mournful romantic voyage without sounding mushy and saccharine.
Wood’s pieces verge on sorrowful but are simultaneously uplifting and on About You he laments, “Our routine was nearly perfect but so well rehearsed/ Seemingly so flawless/But truthfully coerced.”
Wood made a conscious effort to veer from the poppy sound of his first album, Tall Tales.
“I just wanted to have a progression from the last and I didn’t want to make the same album, and I found it very easy to make uptempo poppy songs,” Wood says.
“I wanted to push myself and make something outside of the scope of stuff I had worked on before.”
- Royal Wood is playing at the Music Gallery tomorrow night. For details, log on to www.royalwood.ca.