If EW’s annual Best of Eugene contest included the category “Most likely to perform at Austin City Limits,” local singer-songwriters Tyler Fortier and Beth Wood would surely tie for first. Wood, a native Texan, says she’d jump at the opportunity to play the famous Austin, Texas-based music festival; Fortier admits he might prefer to appear online in an installment of NPR’s intimate Tiny Desk Concerts.
Both Fortier and Wood are celebrating the release of new albums — collaborations between the two songwriters and a host of local session players. “It was sort of by accident,” Fortier says of the projects. “We use a lot of the same players on both our records,” Wood adds. Wood and Fortier will even play in each other’s backing bands at the June 14 release party at Cozmic.
Although based in Eugene, Wood is a working musician who spends most of her time on the road, appearing at well-known events like Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. Fortier, who won EW’s Next Big Thing contest in 2011, has since focused on other people’s work — producing, recording and mixing Wood’s Sometimes Love as well as producing his own release Black and White Heart.
Fortier’s latest should sound familiar to anyone who’s followed his creative trajectory. In a thirsty tenor, Fortier whispers/yells through a Ryan Adams-esque collection of hook-filled folk-rock-country ditties highlighted by the Tom Petty-style “Light of the Sun.” Very much in the same vein, if somewhat more twangy, Wood’s “Sometimes Love” is strong and engaging pop-country; her soulful alto occasionally recalls Dolly Parton and her songwriting brings to mind the iconoclastic folk singer Patty Griffin.
Tyler Fortier and Beth Wood celebrate the release of their new albums 8 pm Saturday, June 14, at Cozmic; $8 adv., $10 door.