Wood laughs at the thought. "I'm 32 now. I guess I'm maturing, and this is becoming a career." It's certainly been a lot of work for him. Wood has been performing for more than a decade, has recorded three acclaimed discs, and is constantly on the road. His latest, The Waiting, brought him a large pile of acclaim and recognition, including a Juno nomination for Songwriter of the Year, that most coveted award (those award-hogs Arcade Fire ended up with the trophy). Wood has used the success to his advantage, not by getting bigger, but by going smaller, although it's a strategic and streamlined show he's touring.
Called the Root Of It All Tour, Wood has crossed the country on his own, headlining a pure solo show, with just his guitar and keyboard. After touring with a full band last year, he felt a need to get into more intimate rooms, tell his stories along with the songs, and get to some smaller places. "I am strongly connected with my roots, and I'm from a small town," explains Wood. "There were just 500 people in my high school." That would be Peterborough, ON, but he's from nearby Lakefield. For this one-man show, he's hit Nelson, BC and Coleman, AB, and now is starting out the East Coast leg in Moncton, before heading back to Ontario for such metropolis sites as Madoc, Dunville, and Meaford.
The stripped-down sound offers a new way to appreciate the lush pop of The Waiting, minus such flourishes as the string and horn parts. That should further confuse the label-makers, not used to a singer-songwriter manning a piano for the most part. "Ya, just because it's a piano, they have to bring up Elton John or Billy Joel, like they are the only piano players working," says Wood. The other problem is his exceptional voice, certainly a couple of notches above the usual performer. "So I get called a crooner," he laughs. Michael Buble he's not. That sweet voice is delivering some highly personal lyrics, reflecting some pretty intense times.
After the solo tour wraps up, Wood says he'll go right back to work. "I've let it be known it's time to record again," he confirms. "This tour has set a lot of wheels in motion."
East Coast dates:
Wednesday, Apr. 27 - Plan B, Moncton
Thursday, Apr. 28 - The Company House, Halifax
Friday, Apr. 29 - The Company House, Halifax
Saturday, Apr. 30th - Charlotte Street Arts Centre, Fredericton
Sunday, May 1st - Bourbon Quarter, Saint John
Check out the rest of the tour dates, plus Royal's blog, at www.royalwood.ca