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This one-time choirboy has become recognised as one of England’s most gifted singers and musicians, and a songwriter of rapier-like insight. 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.
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.
2013 saw the release of ‘None The Wiser’. Bass and Hammond organ are called in to drive a bunch of much shorter songs off the page and into the world - fiscal and political meltdown feature, but in a more robust way; almost a pub band singing hymns and anthems. His 50 date tour with Joan Armatrading at the end of 2012 allowed Chris to eavesdrop and observe Britain from coast to coast and many of the songs give testament to what he encountered.
‘Wood is one of our finest songwriters, a brilliant exponent of the topical troubadour form, and rarely on better form than he is with None the Wiser. The title track alone is a masterpiece’ – The Independent ★★★★★
‘One of Britain’s most uncompromising and original singer-songwriters… his latest album is remarkable for the settings as much as the lyrics.’ – The Guardian ★★★★
‘…such a rarefied talent, both as writer and interpreter.’ – MOJO Album of the month ★★★★