No matter where his life’s led him over the years, Indianapolis’ Jon Wood has devoted all of himself to his passion for song craft. Just ask him.
“My whole life has been about leaving everything else behind,” he says. “I’ve given it all to this, from my own health to my relationships to my finance to my education. And I didn’t mean to really. That’s just kind of how it happened.”
The songwriter currently fronts local band Digital Dots, which releases its debut Greatest Hits via Holy Infinite Freedom Revival (HIFR) this Sunday on cassette. Wood first began work on this batch of songs years ago, after his former band Heavy Hometown called it quits.
He explains, “I was going through a rough part of my life when Heavy Hometown stopped playing…. I started making changes in my life, and within the first month of this, I felt a sense of renewal. I felt recharged, and all these songs that are on that album just came out all at once.”
In Bloomington at the time, Wood eventually chose to head to the studio with these songs in mind, turning to Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording to record and mix his first official Digital Dots album. It wouldn’t be until over a year later that the collection of 11 songs would receive an official release though, thanks to Jon Rogers, who runs HIFR.
“I was really impressed by Jon Wood's songwriting skills and the top-notch production on the album,” Rogers says. “It reminded me of some of my favorite '90s indie rock bands like Yo La Tengo, Silver Jews, Grandaddy, etc. It's just so chilled-out and catchy, which really set it apart from a lot of other bands I was hearing in the local scene.”
The Everything, Now! frontman continues: “I was also drawn to the obvious heartache and raw emotion that lurks beneath the surface of his songs. As soon as I'd listened to the whole album, I could tell it was something of a masterpiece and agreed to put it out.”
In recent months, Wood has assembled a live band to perform Greatest Hits, as well as the many songs he’s written since it was recorded. With Wood (vocals/guitar), Christian Taylor (bass), Thadd Lawrence (guitar/keys) and Brandon Basore (drums), the live lineup made its debut appearance at the Melody Inn in May. A seasoned songwriter in his own right, Taylor truly marvels at Wood’s mastery of song. He reflects, “I'm amazed at how fast he finishes songs and how prolific he is over all.” For Taylor, the passion Wood has for his music is what truly led him to join the group.
“Jon believes in himself and loves what he does,” he asserts. “That's probably the entire reason I signed on.”
As for future releases, Wood has plenty of songs in the works, saying, “I feel like the songs I’m writing now are better than the ones on this [Greatest Hits] album, and I was really proud of those songs.” So at the end of the day, you better believe he’s going to continue churning out inspired rock ‘n’ roll tunes.
“I do feel like this is what I’m going to do for my life, no matter what,” he says. “To me, this is my life’s work, and I’m trying to just put a portfolio together so to speak.”
Wood will release Greatest Hits on Sunday at DJ's with DMA and Sirius Black accompanying. The show is free and tapes are $5