James Jackson Toth or Wooden Wand is quite the understated icon, with a stated exuberance in his music. ‘Blood Oaths of the New Blues’ blends country rock, folk, Americana and some good ol’ fashioned blues tinged with as much reflection as narrative. No Bed for Beatle Wand/Days This Long dives into this approach immediately, delivering an almost 12 minute long soliloquy, introspecting yet still meandering forth in a rustic metronome.
Outsider Blues carries an even softer touch, female vocals resonating with Toth’s in an endearing melody that fits the song’s simple story of lovers quite well – though an odd tinge paints the tale, with “Outsider blues/In the parking lot, shot through the pain pills and booze” providing a clue. Supermoon (The Sounding Line) is much more country tinged, though it plays with the “regret and repent” side of the medium.
Toth isn’t typically typecast into any single style though, with Jhonn Balance playing a bit with alternative rock and psychedelic, before eerily veering off the rails in the end. What should be mourning and soul-searching instead comes off as a simple and clean admission. ‘Blood Oaths’ doesn’t hypnotize but silently grants admission, on a bar stool, with the talent playing through midnight.