Reviews of "ONE to five"
Ian Southworth - Woven Wheat Whispers (UK on-line download service) - December 2005

Jon Wood is currently best known as the guitarist with folk-rock band The Fold, who are based in Brighton. However if there is any justice in the world, this may soon change, for his debut solo album is nothing short of a mini masterpiece. If you wish to visit Jon's website at you will discover how this album, involving 15 performers over a period of 15 months, came to be recorded. However I would prefer to concentrate on the music, so let me lead you though some of the highlights of this staggering release.

The album opens with "Slow Burn", an aptly titled piece that combines Jon's warm and tasteful finger picked guitar with the most beautiful meandering fiddle playing from Eamon McLoughlin. "Horse Nails" is an atmospheric folk blues sung by Tobias and with layered lap-steel and acoustic guitars, it brings to mind the moody atmosphere you might find on one of more recent Michael Chapman albums.

"Feel Warm Inside" introduces vocalist Hanna Burchell and her smokey laid back late night jazz meets folk tones are truly beautiful. With subtle punctuation and accents from her own flute, this track has the same vibe as John Martyn circa Solid Air. This is followed by "Tightrope", a simple melodic but beautifully played guitar tune that evokes memories of early records by John Renbourn. For "It Means Everything", the group switch to bluesy jazz. with Lenna Santamaria handling vocal duties before the the group up the tempo with 125 mph. This instrumental fuses breakneck speed finger picking from Jon and sublime soprano sax from Josie Owens to create a tune embedded with subtle Arabic flavours.

By track seven, "In Your Shadow", Jon has introduced cello and violin and this song somehow manages to evoke memories of both Robert Kirby's classic string arrangements and Oliver Knight's criminally overlooked albums of the late 1990s. "Sorry I Missed Your Birthday" is an elegant composition that would not be out of place on any of the best albums for the Windham Hill label, whilst "Maybe Girl" is simply a classic piece of singer songwriter material. "The Beat of My Heart" brings Hanna back as vocalist and its blend of folk with pop sensibilities could make a major hit single should it be picked up by BBC radio two. The albums closes with "Tuning, Dropout" an exercise in guitar technique and explorations. With additional fiddle from Eamon it proves Jon's mastery of both technique and composition.

Listeners will also find a "hidden track" on the album, but as this is meant to be a "secret", I'll leave the review and summary to your own ears. But believe me, you wont be disappointed. Here then we have a truly great album that effortlessly manages to skip between musical genres. If you have a friend who claims not to like "folk music" play them this. If you think to yourself, "I'm not into Jazz", take a listen, believe me you are!

This is an album made by a genuinely gifted songwriter and musician that will appeal to anyone who loves real music.

Pam Dow - Minor 7th and Rambles (USA on-line magazines) - January/February 2005

"One To Five", the latest release by UK guitarist/songwriter Jon Wood, is a glorious work of acoustic imagery and composition. His fingerpicking style touches a variety of formats that blend together and complement each other to perfection. On "Slow Burn", Wood travels up and down the fretboard, and each note resonates a deep tone and texture you can almost feel. He's joined midway through by Eamon McLoughlin on violin, who adds depth to the imagery as both instruments mirror one another, changing tempo as if they're dancing. "Horse Nails", is a country roots, folksy blues style ballad, with Tobias on vocals, who penned the lyrics. Phil Mills on lap steel guitar gives this tune its haunting sound and old west flavor. Wood changes course with, "It Means Everything" a jazzy blues number with a great opening sax solo by Josie Owens. The highlight is Lenna Santamaria's vocal performance, her smooth and sultry vocals conjure up images of a smoke filled nightclub. The crowd suddenly becomes hypnotized the moment she's up on stage as her soulful voice slowly consumes the entire room, an enjoyable change of pace. Another great track is "Maybe Girl", a contemporary acoustic pop style tune you could easily find playing on the radio, like a frequently requested song with a top ten feel, it's got everything working here. David Jordan delivers a solid vocal performance, Linda Game adding her magic on violin and Jon Wood providing a steady acoustic beat. "One To Five" is a genuine masterpiece, reaching deep down into a well of emotion and stirring the soul.

Janet Roe - Roots Review (UK on-line magazine) - October 2004

The album "One to Five" is the solo project of Jon Wood, left handed virtuoso guitarist with the Brighton based band "The Fold". The title track is derived from the fact that 15 musicians are involved playing with one to five on them at any time on a track, the album took 15 months to record and one of the tracks is entitled 125.

Jon's playing is the unifying feature of all the tracks and complements the talents of violinist Eamon Mcloughlin, who gives a Celtic feel to the opening and closing tracks, and saxophonist Josie Owens, who contributes in a wonderful bluesy track called "It means everything" along with the smooth vocals of Lenna Santamaria.

Four other vocalists cover Jon's songs whilst the smoky tones of Tobias deliver his own penned lyrics in "Horse Nails". His vocals are cleverly intertwined with Jon's guitar and the lap string guitar of Phil Mills.

The instrumental tracks give Jon the chance to display his fine technique and the highlight of the album for me was the title track 125 which features Josie Owens laid back soprano saxophone in an improvisation accompanied by Jon and the ambient percussion of Tom Andrews.

An interesting album, which I think guitarists would particularly enjoy. Listen out for the bonus track!!

Adolf Goriup - Folk World (German on-line magazine - translated) - October 2004

I have been pre-warned in the write-up by Orange Sky Records "Here at Orange Sky Records we have been told that we are giving reviewers a real challenge with this one." I am only too happy to accept this challenge. Jon Wood plays with the Folk-Rock band, "The Fold" and his five colleagues are also part of this project. Take a songwriter and add five fantastic voices to give the whole thing the necessary spice and add also a number of high quality instrumentalists. All in all, 15 fantastic musicians are part of this project and have completed it after 15 months. The result is a breathtaking mixture of acoustic jazz and blues around the virtuoso play of Jon Wood's guitar. Why "One to Five"? There are always between one and five musicians taking part on any piece.

My absolute favourite piece is "Feel Warm Inside", in which Hanna Burchell displays qualities which you would expect from a great jazz singer. Only accompanied by Jon's guitar, Hanna sings with so much feeling and expression that one wants to hear the song again and again. And for the finale she also accompanies Jon on the flute.

Other highlights are in my opinion: the bluesy "It Means Everything", sung by Lenna Santamaria and wonderfully accompanied by Josie Owens on saxophone; "125 mph", an instrumental piece in which Jon and Josie plat together wonderfully, and "Maybe Girl" by David Jordan.

I am not mentioning all the musicians here, but would like to emphasise, that the selection is very subjective and all 15 musicians are of first quality. A wonderfully successful album, in which Jon Wood works together with the crème de la crème of the Brighton Music Scene and also with the violinist, Eamon McLoughlin, who lives in America. This is how cool jazz can be.

Thomas Erdmann - Jazz Review (USA on-line magazine) - August 2004

British guitarist Jon Wood's first solo CD is a unique venture because of the combination of different types of musics he blends into his vision. Taking a little bit of what can only be called American Appalachian mountain music, a little bit of jazz along with a little bit of blues, Wood creates what can best be described as slow British alternative pop meets Bill Frisell - but with a decidedly sad and tragic edge.

The title for the CD, ONE to five, is in reference to Wood's use of between one and five musicians per track. Each song's soundscape, however, never remains the same, as he calls upon a pool of 14 guest artists to accompany him, or not, on each cut. With the diverse musicians used, and the wide variety of talents they possess, Wood is able to swirl a varied palette of timbres into some fascinating colors. While the album is unmistakably Wood's effort, at times it seems like a sampler disc. For example, It Means Everything is a slow bluesish number propelled by the voice of remorse from vocalist Lenna Santamaria. Her dusky and heartrending singing is ably accompanied by Josie Owens' alto saxophone and Simon Cambers' drumming, all culminating in a feeling of despair and temporary resignation. Hanna Burchell's vocals on The Beat of my Heart create a broad contrast. Burchell has more of a Nanci Griffith meets Judy Collins style but keeps it light even though she sings of unrequited love. 125 MPH is a jazzy instrumental with Owens' soprano sax promptly displayed out front in this sax/guitar/percussion trio.

Wood's guitar takes center stage on numbers such as Tightrope and Sorry I Missed Your Birthday. One, at moments, hears a little of Jethro Tull's guitarist Martin Barre in Wood's playing, but mostly the influence is American folk. His writing has an overall edge of sadness and longing from afar with melodies that are, in some part, certainly influenced by jazz. As far as playing and technique are concerned there is too much distracting right hand finger noise in his sound as he slides from hand position to hand position when playing loud - he plays the guitar left-handed and has the strings restrung to accommodate - but this is a minor problem. Wood's exceptionally folksy sound is pleasant to listen to and his incorporation of violinists Eamon McLoughlin and Linda Game, who never play on the same track but almost sound interchangeable, bring a distinctly American mountain flair to the music. The violinists are able to turn a song like In Your Shadow into a plaintive Bluegrass anthem. But, as previously stated, there are too many different influences at play for the music to ever settle into one regularly defined genre.

It's a good first effort. Not perfect and little too scattered, but Wood's music definitely deserves wider recognition. If you are looking for music that speaks to a unique vision, is full of sad unreciprocated love songs and moody instrumental tracks you'll find much to like in this young British lad.

Sam Saunders - Whisperin and Hollerin (UK on-line magazine) - August 2004

There's a lot going on in Brighton these days. We have here a solo project by guitarist JON WOOD, otherwise band member of folk rock stalwarts THE FOLD and collector of quality musical collaborators.

Track 1, "Slow Burn" is a fine duet with US fiddler Eamon McLoughlin (who also shows up on final track "Tuning, Dropout"). It announces an ambition to start in John Renbourne territory, and does a good job. Maybe without Renbourne's legendary light touch, but certainly with his crisp melodic style and confident guitar complexity. Track 2 has Tobias adding lyrics and a soulful singing voice to a tune that could be from the early Bert Jansch on his American holidays. Phil Mills adds some direct lap steel guitar that blueses it up nicely. Up to now I'm full of admiration for the rescue and dusting down of a rich seam of British acoustic guitar music from the 60s.

"Tightrope" is what the album does best - it's another guitar solo. I love well played acoustic guitar. And here we have a tasty chunk. The second section doesn't sit quite at ease with the first, but that flowing and syncopated main tune has something of the Nic Jones about it. Praise indeed. "125 mph" rattles along like a train (with nice Marsalis-like soprano sax from Josie Owens) and final tune (with McLoughlin's fiddle) "Tuning, Drop Out" has a crystal feel of something from New Age acoustic guitar that I've heard and can't put a name to. Also notable is "Sorry I missed you Birthday" with some loving attention to the nuances of what guitar strings can sound like when pushed, pulled, patted and generally pleasured. These are the gems on the album.