Meet Wood Belly

Wood Belly, a local Denver bluegrass band, writes and plays music inspired by Colorado’s stunning mountain landscapes. The group can trace its beginnings back to the Rockygrass Festival in 2015, where Chris Weist (mandolin), Craig Patterson (guitar), and Chris Zink (dobro) first met one another. In the year that followed, Aaron McCloskey (banjo) and Taylor Shuck (bass) joined in. Since then the band has been collectively writing and playing bluegrass songs that unite the history and simplicity of traditional bluegrass with modern songwriting elements. 

With their debut album, Solid Ground, set to release in May, this is an especially exciting moment for Wood Belly. This month we talked with the band members about what called them to Colorado, their mutual love of bluegrass, and their creative process. 

You guys are from all over the States, from Massachusetts to Mississippi. What brought all of you to Colorado?

To put it simply, we were all drawn to Colorado because of the mountains! We’re all nature enthusiasts in one way or another, and we share a passion for the outdoors. Some of us moved for school, some to ski bum, and some both, but the underlying lure was the Rocky Mountains.

Why bluegrass music?

There’s just something about the simplicity of bluegrass. There’s a sense of freedom in being able to play wherever you want. With no amps or electricity needed, welcoming jam circles, and traditional songs that have been passed down through the ages, bluegrass is a very accessible genre. There’s also a great sense of community that makes you feel at home, especially in Colorado.

How does the Colorado landscape guide your music writing?

Our song lyrics are filled with descriptions of the American landscape and, more specifically, the Colorado landscape. We feel bluegrass and nature go hand in hand, and our music reflects that. 

What’s in the future for Wood Belly?

We’re doing a CD release show on May 12th at the Mishawaka Amphitheater with Head for Hills and Whiskey Shivers to celebrate the release of our debut album, Solid Ground. We’re also planning on playing in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2018 competition. With Solid Ground on the brink of release, we just want to spread our music to as many people as possible and play great shows along the way.