Fred Woods Two Six Ate, Ottawa ON, February 3

Fred Woods Two Six Ate, Ottawa ON, February 3
Photo: Ming Wu
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Last year's buzzing, brooding "Spin" was our latest taste of Fred Woods, which made it seem as though Woods was departing from his economical approach to production and had started to use electronics to augment his sound.
 
But his solo set Wednesday afternoon (February 2) at Two Six Ate proved that whatever production work he uses on his records is just a kind of window dressing that highlights the already weighty emotional qualities of his songwriting. At their core, his songs belong to him and his guitar. 
 
His songwriting manages to be simple, but not to the point of one-dimensionality. Each tune mines a different kind of rawness that's deeply affecting in new ways.
 
Wood's eyes were closed as he performed, occasionally opening to look out the massive windows behind him, but that's not to say he wasn't present; songs like the set-closing "Schools" had a way of silencing the room, filling them with the manifold emotions that landed like waves with each strum of his guitar strings.