White Woods blends eclectic genres on Middle Season

Self-described as a “hipster hillbilly rock” group, local band White Woods incorporates modern, urban styles into its music while remaining true to its folk sound. The band has a fairly basic structure: two main guitars, a bass, drums and a rhythm guitar.

“White Woods started by accident,” founding member Garth Clark said. Clarks plays rhythm guitar and provides lead vocals.

After Clark had already planned a mini-tour in Rochester with the original band members, the group disbanded and Clark was forced to search for replacements for the tour. Clark's previous guitarist tagged along, and he convinced his childhood friends Matt Coleman and Dylan Carey to join him.

Coleman, Carey and Clark played as a trio for a year and a half with Coleman playing the drums before adding Pat Barnhardt and Andrew Strzepek.

White Woods since developed into a five-man band with Coleman on guitar, writing a lot of riffs and providing backup vocals, Carey on bass, Clark on guitar and vocals, Barnhardt on drums and Strzepek on guitar.

None of the band members are Geneseo alumni, contrary to popular belief. Regardless, the band has played plenty of shows in the area, and has made frequent appearances in Avon and at The Bug Jar in Rochester. White Woods performed in August at the Weeks of Welcome-sponsored Welcome Back Jam on the College Green.

White Woods' first full-length album Middle Season came out in January and is available online alongside its Big Dirty EP.

The band's sound “jumps around” and “would sound more folk, more Neil Young,” Clark said, if he were playing alone; however, his band members “bring modern influences” and “indie rock influences.”

White Woods' sound is comparable to Deer Tick, an alternative country band with some contagiously danceable, upbeat moments, usually found in its striking guitar solos. The last track on Middle Season “Space Jam” has a real swing to it.

The band contrasts faster, energetic tracks with slower-paced songs; this lends certain fullness, as it touches upon different parts of the multi-faceted folk genre.

After playing shows every single weekend for the past few years, the band hopes to slow down for a while in order to record an extensive album.

“We only took one month on Middle Season, so now I want to spend like six months recording something we can really be proud of, with the addition of [Strzepek] on guitar,” Clark said.