Shepherd Express – Wooldridge Brothers Feature
The Wooldridge Brothers Double Up
By Joshua Miller
Aug. 4, 2015
The Wooldridge Brothers enjoyed an album perfect storybook beginning. Brothers Brian and Scott moved from Indiana to Milwaukee after hearing about the city’s vibrant music scene, and quickly garnered major label success at Windswept Pacific/EMI in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. That included several highly praised albums, and several songs placed in films like Contact and TV shows like “Party of Five” and “The Anna Nicole Show.”
Like a lot of bands, though, they found that level of success hard to maintain. While it hasn’t discouraged them from making music, busy lives, family commitments and Scott’s move to Minneapolis have made it tougher for the two to get together, and thus a special treat when they do.
These days the brothers have more modest goals—regional airplay, successful shows, and making good music—but above all they want to reap the most returns possible with each decision.
So when it came to finding a place to release their split vinyl single, featuring The Wooldridge Brothers’ “Drive Through Summer” off their forthcoming album set for release later this year and “Winter’s Walk” off singer Scott Wooldridge’s solo album released in January, they picked Anodyne Coffee to play one of the venue’s free “Sweet 16” birthday music events.
“We wanted to do something different this time,” Brian says. “We want the bigger bang for our buck. I like supporting the small business guys that are really trying to do something in Milwaukee, much like myself.”
The joint single is part of their multi-faceted Kickstarter project, which helped fund both the new Wooldridge Brothers album and Scott’s solo album. The first batch of Wooldridge Brothers songs were produced by John Munson, best known as a member of Minneapolis bands Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic. They also worked on songs in Milwaukee and Rockford, Ill.
While they recorded their previous album, 2009’s Days Went Around, as a duo with a hired drummer, Brian says they wanted to “do something more as a band” this time. The band also features Scott Gorsuch, Brian’s wife Julie Straszewski Wooldridge and Jack Rice.
“It’s not going to be your standard Wooldridge Brothers affair type record,” Brian says. “We’ve been classified as this jangly pop, R.E.M.-type band. We like R.E.M. and come from world of Big Star, but this album will have a hint of us paying respect to our roots from some of the bands we love from the ‘60s, like The Kinks and The Beatles. It’s definitely a rock album and full band. It’s a different kind of outing for the Wooldridge Brothers and I think people will be pleasantly surprised.”
The Wooldridge Brothers album will be more electric and rocking than Scott’s more singer-songwriter oriented record, but both share similar themes.
“I think the common theme between the two albums is the experience of getting older; looking both backward and forward to the different parts of life,” Scott says. “And I think there’s a fair amount of social commentary going on in my songs.”
Juggling a solo career and the band has been an “interesting challenge,” Scott says, but he’s enjoying participating in projects with different musical identities.
“If you listen to the joint single, for example, you’ll hear a much higher production level on the WBs song, while the Trio song is more raw and live-sounding. I think it’s a nice contrast,” he says.