Woodpile does 'Waltz' with its pals
"...A sold-out crowd at the Lizard Lounge braved Thursday's arctic chill to hear Woodpile take on "The Last Waltz" from start to finish,
with one set break. There was a little more than two hours of music and a vibe that put you right into the comfort zone of what one
would now term Americana -- a vibe pretty darn close to the real thing conveyed by the Band and friends Thanksgiving night, 1976...."
read the entire article
- Jim Sullivan Boston Globe (Jan 17, 2004)
Woodpile Live at Toad
"Boston is filled with roots music acts, but here's one of the best. Led by
the songwriting team of Holt Hopkins and Gene McAuliffe, Woodpile unveiled some
excellent, Americana-tinged original songs (the standout "Nashville" soared on
a blue-grassy rock tempo) and some wonderfully transformed covers, including
the Band's Opehlia. Moreover, Woodpile's instrumental prowess was as strong
as its vocals."
- Steve Morse Boston Globe (Aug 29, 2003)
"If you enjoy your roots rock with side of alt-country, climb up on this Woodpile.
Leaders Holt Hopkins and Gene McAuliffe take their clear love of such artists as Wilco,
Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, the Band and even the Grateful Dead and mesh them together on this warm-sounding
The pair strike a nice balance between genial catchy tunes - such as the bouncy opening ode to
pit stops on the road of life "Baltimore to Boston" - and darker, funkier rockers; an uneasy
malaise radiates from songs such as "Black" and "Dead Weight."
- Sarah Rodman Boston Herald (Aug 29, 2003)
"Boston's Woodpile is dramatically poised and confident on its new 15-song self-titled disc.
The band is comprised of Holt Hopkins and Gene McAuliffe; both play guitar and sing.
The sound is acoustic (with light country touches) while the songs - all originals - are light and melodic. They contain just the right amount of poppy edges and lyrical whimsy to prevent them from turning into heavy-handed, self-important lamentations. The barren arrangements are accentuated through gritty guitar work and sharp vocals.
Several tracks stand out.
"Baltimore to Boston" is smooth, with a little dash of the Velvet Underground. "For Whom it Concerns" is bolstered by a gorgeous, tender melody that echoes Lowell George. "Lonesome Skyline" is mellow, as is "Fingers."
Additionally, "Black," "On Bended Knee" and "Steeple and the Damage Done" are gritty, guitar-driven tunes that sound like the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.
...Hopkins and McAuliffe are excellent songwriters and their diligence is obvious from the first listen.
'Woodpile' is a damn fine disc."
- Michael J. Ryan Boston Herald (Jan 31, 2003)
Woodpile mines a deep Americana vein in an entirely satisfying manner.
The band couples rock 'n roll drive with the ingredients that make country
so great - piano, harmonies, and that great raspy strum. It's an old Pontiac
screeching down a dusty gravel road. Holt Hopkins makes an absurdly
quintessential frontman - he rocks out on his electric guitar, sings
in a light tenor, and stands about seven feet tall. Think Bruce Springsteen,
think John Cougar Mellencamp. Gene McAuliffe, the acoustic guitarist,
walks a folksier route, with poetic lyrics and a voice that sounds exactly
like Neil Young. Tim Powers's keyboards take the band deep into Southern
Comfort territory. The songs are hard-luck tales of fucking up and getting
by, both plaintive and upbeat. In the first category falls the catchy
"Baltimore to Boston.” "Dead Weight" escalates into a soaring, tuneful
chorus with killer, killer harmonies. The simple, straightforward
"Throw it All Away" is another number where the two-part voices blossom
achingly into three. Many of the downbeat songs have an almost churchlike
quality-- maybe it's the piano, or maybe the phrasing, the country quality
of those long lines. "Lonesome Skyline" is a 3 AM hymn to emptiness.
"Second Coming" (which could have come off Harvest Moon) adds a rainy-window
atmospheric quality to a kick-back, Sunday afternoon bar waltz.
A few, harder songs evoke Austin outlaw James McMurtry, especially
the very coolly titled "Steering in the Direction of the Skid," which
shines for its classic juke-band sound and the balance it hits between
quiet parts and flat-out blues-rock. "On Bended Knee" pulls out the
rockabilly/swing stops with a ride 'em cowboy rhythm...
Woodpile is a real solid straight-arrow all-American
rock band from back when hi-fi was analog. Definitely recommended.
- Danielle Dreilinger NorthEast Performer (Feb 2003)
"Former frontman Holt Hopkins has joined forces with singer-bassist Gene McAuliffe
to form a new band called Woodpile. On their debut self-titled fifteen song album,
the duo delivers a rootsy slice of Americana, complete with jangling acoustic guitars,
stepping bass lines and spellbinding vocals.
Hopkins and McAuliffe are well suited for one another musically as they trade off on lead
vocals from song to song. They've also elevated the playing field by delivering a collection
of poetic lyrics that border on the genius. The end product is nothing less than stunning and
Accompanied by band members Tim Powers on piano and Matt Myers on drums, these two fine additions
to Woodpile round out an exemplary Boston-based outfit that could easily fit into the mainstream
of today's music scene.
- Douglas Sloan - Metronome (September 2002)