A stalwart of Nashville, Tennessee’s country scene, Runner of the Woods is fronted by Nick Beaudoing, who draws from honky-tonk, indie rock, and even his French roots. In the end, it all comes out sounding like country. At long last, he understands this is a beautiful thing.
The band’s 2015 debut album, “Thirsty Valley”, showcased “countrygaze”, a signature sound featuring punchy guitars, reverb-heavy pedal steel, and odes to nature’s wide open spaces. It’s music for country fans who know better than to pretend their record collection is pure. For every George Jones LP on the shelf, there’s another by Big Star, Wilco, or A.A. Bondy.
Their record is countrygaze for any working man desperate for an escape. Whether it’s two-stepping to a honky-tonk shuffle or banging on the dashboard en route to the great outdoors, music is the best way to blow off steam.
Beaudoing previously led New York City’s Cajun honky-tonkers, the Doc Marshalls. Over the course of three releases, the band evolved from Bakersfield country and Acadian barnburners to jagged, glimmering folk. The pedal steel was still king, but now it blared from a low-watt amp with a brash fuzz tone.
In 2019 Runner of the Woods released a new single and video, “Acadiana Girls”. The song is a nod to Beaudoing’s long history with Cajun music, but it also hints at the need to escape the confines of a traditional music scene. Sometimes you need to get away, even from a place you love. The video features the violent destruction of Cajun accordions by his young sons (no functional accordions were harmed). A closer listen reveals the song for what it truly is — a love letter to a region close to his heart, Louisiana’s Acadian heartland.
2021 finds Runner of the Woods woodshedding and writing in preparation for a new record. This is an era for taking one’s time. Live shows have been postponed. Somehow, there must be an aspect of the current lockdown that serves as a gift, an opportunity for reflection until music picks up again.
When that time comes, whether it’s a dance hall rhythm or a dreamy soundtrack to a thousand yard stare, get ready to feel better.
Runner of the Woods is:
Nicolas Beaudoing: Guitars/Vocals/Cajun Accordion
Stephen Daly: Lead Guitar
Billy Contreras: FIddle
Eric Frey: Bass
Zoltan Tobak/Nate Felty/Lemuel Hayes: Drums