Although they’ve been local stars for some time now, Ravenna Woods just stepped it up a notch. The trio of singer/guitarist Chris Cunningham, drummer Matt Badger, percussionist Brantley Duke, are now joined by keyboardist Sam Miller for their forthcoming release, adding another layer to their already deep and insistent folk sound. Proving that all music played with acoustic instruments doesn’t have to be lethargic, the now-quartet are sharper than ever. With two percussionists and two leading melodic instruments in the fold, Cunningham’s echoing vocals recall the fury of modern folk punkers like Chuck Ragan and Frank Turner, but with an expansive, harmonious sound that’s distinctly Seattle. As the band enters this new era, it will be fascinating to hear how their new configuration pushes their music into new necks of the wilderness.
We got a chance to hear them jam together in their closing set for our broadcast at UW’s Red Square during Hood to Hood 2013. Their first song “Brother” was an almost soothing venture that paired very well with the weather. The new addition Sam Miller on the keyboard brought out an entire new level to their usual drum heavy sound. Cunningham’s unique guitar rifts and booming voice (“We Want It All” and “Simple Fates”) were as fun to listen to as it was to watch him jump around stage. They even played some brand new material, “Live Alone” and “Voices”, for those awesome fans who braved the rain- the latter of which had an unbelievable drum solo.