Bluegrass traditions, energy alive with Wood & Wire

Last Updated by Chip Chandler - Digital Content Producer on

by Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Though Trevor Smith had grown up playing music, his exposure to a new instrument at age 13 ended up changing his life.

“It just mystified me, hearing all that sound come out of that instrument,” said Smith, a member of Austin-based bluegrass band Wood & Wire, returning to Amarillo for a 10 p.m. Thursday at Golden Light Cantina, 2906 S.W. Sixth Ave.

The instrument was the banjo, one of the core building blocks of bluegrass, and Smith said he was immediately hooked.

“My parents bought me a $90 banjo, and I bought myself some books on how to teach yourself to play,” Smith said. “I did that for probably six months while going to bluegrass festivals and meeting professional players and taking lessons.”

By the time he was 16, the Arizona native was playing professionally – “it beat all the other terrible teenager jobs I had working in restaurants” – before he made his way to Texas.

Since connecting with Wood & Wire, Smith and his bandmates have released two albums, including last year’s “The Coast.” A new full-length is planned for 2017, and in the meantime, the band likely will record a live “Woodshed Sessions” album collecting some traditional bluegrass tunes.

Though the band brings a modern edge to its tunes, members still respect what came before, Smith said.

“Once you get into it, you start to listen to the origins and find that everybody connects to this collection of songs that have been around for now 60 years, 70 years, more,” Smith said. “It’s fun to get to share that and share our take and our approach on that.”

Smith said he’s happy to see the continuing influence of bluegrass sounds and instrumentation on other genres, from country to rock. It’s only natural, he said.

“It strikes a chord with people to see a group of people playing together on all-acoustic instruments,” Smith said. “It kind of hits you hard in almost the same way rock ’n’ roll would. It’s mystifying when you see that when you’re used to hearing loud, amplified music and then see acoustic instruments in a lot of ways rivaling that energy.”

Cover charge is $6.

Plus, tune in to FM 90 at 1 p.m. on Thursday to hear singer/guitarist Tony Kamel chat with station DJ Tyler Williams.