You could say Woody Pines for the Borders

Woody Pines, second left, and his band are in Heart of Hawick on May 12
Woody Pines, second left, and his band are in Heart of Hawick on May 12

WOODY Pines may have a forest-inspired stage name, but the North Carolinian and his three American roots chums produce a far from hollow sound.

You only need to ask respected BBC Radio Two presenter Bob Harris, who is among the quartet’s fans after describing them as “superb”.

Woody Pines started his career touring alone with his resonator guitar in an effort to make a name for himself in Louisiana, then playing coast-to-coast across the US.

He teamed up with Gill Landry to form the Kitchen Syncopators back in 1998 and they made music together for a couple of years, moving to New Orleans.

He and Gill remained close pals and together, they produced the band’s last album, Counting Alligators, which won rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic when released in 2010.

Now alongside Woody is his constant playing companion, Zach Pozebanchuk (upright bass), entertaining percussionist Mike Gray and Lyon Graulty on clarinet, lead guitar and vocal harmonies.

Woody Pines won legions of new fans on a tour of the UK two years ago, which included appearances at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles and Heart of Hawick.

Some of their audiences were probably attracted by a series of glowing reviews – the Scotsman described the four-piece as “a rollicking, engagingly idiosyncratic amalgam of American old-time, blues and jug band”.

Another critic said they were an “intoxicating blend of rural and urban string band, country blues, ragtime and jug band music”.

They have also attracted praise from their peers, including country legend Billy Joe Shaver, who heard Woody Pines at the Nelsonville Folk and Blues Festival.

The band has been playing dates in America with one of their all-time favourite roots jam bands, Donna the Buffalo.

Currently on their biggest tour yet of the UK, the group arrived in Scotland this week after a succession of sold out shows in Ireland.

The band recorded a studio session for Lopa Kothari for the BBC Radio 3 World on 3 programme while they were in London, which is to be broadcast tomorrow.

They are due to return to Europe next year, for an extensive tour of Germany and the Netherlands after leading German promoter Rainer Zellner heard about the group. It is likely Woody Pines will return to Scotland tool in 2013.

Describing the influences that can be heard on their latest album You Gotta Roll, Woody said: “Way back and right at the start, I grew up playing 1960s rock in US cover bands but, mercifully, I soon grew out of that.

“Today I am still inspired by all of the early greats but I don’t want people to think I am on a recycling kick, as I ain’t. It’s good to cast a spell from the past, but my own songs are about now - and my own experiences.

“Everything from swing band to old country blues goes into our music, along with life’s inspirations.”

Woody Pines perform at 7.30 in the Heart of Hawick on Saturday, May 12. Tickets cost £12 (£10 concessions) and can be purchased by phoning 01450 360688.