Acoustic Music That Grooves

Hey there, thanks for visiting We've got some tunes for you to listen to and a few stories to tell. I don't send out a lot of newsletters, but still the best way to find out where I'm playing or what's going on in "Woodyland" is to sign up for the mailing list.

Woodfest 2016 

What a great Radio Stranger show. Because of the rain, it wasn't the ideal outdoor show that we had hoped for (it was sunny both the day before and the day after). But that just brought us all together under a covered overhead balcony. The Radio Stranger Band, Jean-Pierre Garau, Anders Bergstrom, Michael Henchman, and Jeffrey Koch (with special backing vocals by our host Charity James Hudnut) absolutely brought their A Game and totally rocked it. Martin John Gallagher and Joe Reed did a fantastic job with the sound install.

In addition to Radio Stranger, we heard some wonderful songs from Robin Greene-Jacobs, Ed Haynes, Michael Henchman Music, Paul Kwitek, John Manns, Jacob Moran, Chris Baron & Dors Ward of The Baron Ward and our host Peter Hudnut. A huge thank you to ElleK Photography for some very cool photos. Thank you to all of our friends and neighbors who braved the weather to come and party with us in the rain. One of the best shows ever!

Check out the Radio Stranger Facebook page for more photos.

You'll Love Your Woody Moran Pandora Internet Radio Station 

Woohoo! It has taken multiple attempts to get on Pandora Internet Radio, but with the submission of "Chasing Midnight" from the EP Sitting In Aztec Chairs, I now have a Woody Moran Station on Pandora. As you may know, Pandora's analysis of your songs determines what other songs show up on your station and where your else your songs may pop up.

So of course, I've spent the day listening to my Woody Moran Station and I love the company that I'm in. Here's what you can expect if you set your Pandora Internet dial to Woody Moran.

Click Five, Lifehouse, Dave Matthews Band (lots), The Fray, Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder (lots of Pearl Jam & Eddie),The Calling, Michelle Branch, Goo Goo Dolls, Maroon 5, Jack Johnson, Alice In Chains,  Ryan Cabrera (lots), Ray LaMontage, Lyle Lovett, Bill Withers, Van Morrison, Ray Charles, Ben Harper.

Seriously, this is such an awesome collection of wonderful music that I am humbled to just be part of the mix. I have been told several times that I sound like Ray LaMontage but I had never listened to his music. I love that Dave Matthews shows up so much, he has been such an influence on me.

So do yourself a favor and create a Woody Moran Station on Pandora Radio. You'll love it.

Sitting In Aztec Chairs Review in Music Connection Magazine 

The April 2016 issue of Music Connection Magazine has a review of Sitting In Aztec Chairs under their Unsigned Artist - New Music Reviews. Since Music Connection receives hundreds of submissions each week and they only chose 8-12 unsigned artists each month to review, it sorta feels like a pretty big deal just to get a review. Although focused on the Southern California music industry, they have become the industry "Bible" covering artists and events in other regions as well. I especially enjoyed this line of the Music Connection Magazine review. "Moran’s a relaxed, genial artist whose music conjures a kinder, gentler, friendlier world, one we can all experience, at least for a short while." Their comments confirmed that  Sitting In Aztec Chairs is the perfect Trop Rock album for your next trip to sunny climates and mojitos on the beach.

Read The Full Review

"Chasing Midnight" Wins The Akademia Music Awards Best Rock Song Award 

Cynthia Miller, Program Director for WCTR Radio Chicago, contacted me via Facebook with some very encouraging comments on my latest collection of songs from Sitting In Aztec Chairs. In particular she singled out "Chasing Midnight" and later in an email exchange suggested that I enter it in The Akademia Music Awards. She mentioned that WCTR had been receiving some of their best music through this channel and thought that "Chasing Midnight" was exceptional and could win an award and that award winners were forwarded on to radio stations around the country. So, I entered the song and it won in the category of Best Song Rock/R&B. How cool is that?

Woody Moran Television Concert 

Television Concert on CCTV Salem from January 2016. All of the songs from Sitting In Aztec Chairs plus a wonderful version of "Cowboy in Babylon" from the album A Brand New Situation. Jean-Pierre Garau on keyboard, Anders Bergstrom on drums, Michael Henchman bass and backing vocals, Kelly Brightwell backing vocals. Hope you like it.

Photo Shoot For Radio Stranger 

The Kelly Brightwell & Woody Moran song co-write is starting to take on a new life as a recording and performance project under the name, Radio Stranger. As previously reported a new five song EP has been recorded at Rob Stroup's 8 Ball Studio and is currently being mastered by Ed Brooks at RFI Mastering in Seattle, WA. A CD Release Show is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 2016 at Cafe Artichoke in Portland, OR. But first... we need a photo or two. Kelly quickly rejected my idea of a selfie and brought in Miri and Darka from Mirifoto. Kelly had worked with them before and I quickly understood why she wanted them to do our photos. These two rock!

Let me just say this, we had such a great time with Miri and Darka and we can't recommend them highly enough. It was a long session, partly because we kept coming up with cool photo ideas. Kelly and I played some songs to try and capture a little of the songwriting enthusiasm we share when writing together. This is a photo while we were goofing around with a few songs. After Miri and Darka had packed up and taken off, Kelly said, "I had no idea that smiling was such hard work."

The Spiritual Side of Recording an EP 

Kelly Brightwell and I started writing songs together a little over a year ago. We get together about once a month and usually write a song each time we get together. "Okay, so what have you got?" has become our standard greeting for these sessions. So with about a dozen songs written, we decided we needed to record an EP of the best 4 or 5 co-written songs. I personally love the concept of the EP because from a spiritual side, it feels like you are always giving your best songs. There's no room for filler songs, only the best that we can offer at that moment.

Rob, Kelly, Woody at 8 Ball Studio

So we worked out the song arrangements and started recording scratch tracks of vocals & guitars over a couple of days in October with Rob Stroup at 8 Ball Studio. We brought the entire band in for a long day in November to record the songs live with no rehearsal. All of these musicians are awesome and we wanted to capture any magic that might happen between them as they played the songs. The magic was there and the songs started taking on a life of their own as we heard them develop and take shape. We are back in the studio in December to record our "keeper" vocals and we should have it mixed and mastered by early 2016. How cool is that?

These songs are unlike anything that Kelly or I might write individually. But if you like Kelly's songs or my songs, we think that you will really enjoy this EP. We can't wait to get it out there.

Woody Moran’s CD Release Show for "Sitting In Aztec Chairs" 

It is strange how adversity can help deliver the most amazing results. I had wanted to have the CD release for Sitting In Aztec Chairs at Portland’s famous acoustic venue, Café Artichoke. So I booked a date for March 2015, then I got an email that they would have to reschedule and I got pushed back to May. That was okay, the recording process was going a little slower than I had anticipated. Then I received a 2nd email that the date May date had been double booked and would I reschedule again, but the only date that fit my schedule was July 11th. Much later in the year than I wanted, but I took the date.

Then I started rounding up my band and one after the other the band members from the recording told me they already had other commitments. I called up keyboardist Dave Aston, who I had played with at several street fairs so he already knew a bunch of my songs, and he was available. I thought, well I’ll just go and do the gig with Dave. It will sound totally different than the album but that’s okay. Then my great friend Michael Henchman, who played bass on the project, phoned and told me that he would be available after all. Things were shaping up.

Then I got the word from Artichoke that the house sound engineer was not available and did I have someone that I could provide. I had worked with a wonderful sound engineer, Marty Gallagher, at the three street fairs I had played and gave him a call. Marty was could make the date.

I started looking for an opening act and again, I found that many of my musician friends already had commitments for that Saturday night or were out of town. Then I thought about inviting John Rankin to open for me. John had just returned from SxSW down in Austin, TX and had won some contest that had him opening for John Legend’s show. John told me that he was available, so I asked him if he would like to join me on stage for a couple of numbers on 2nd guitar. John said sure, then asked me if I would like a little violin on any of my tunes. “What? You play violin?” John told me that violin was actually his first instrument. Now the band was really taking shape.

So I started to promote the event, and wouldn’t you know it, pretty much all of my friends, neighbors, and even my dentist and the grocery store clerks were going to be out of town. Yes, I was getting desperate. Would there be anyone at the show?

The night of the show rolled around and the room started to fill; some friends, some family, and a lot of strangers. My promotion efforts had worked after all. John Rankin just killed it as the opening act; he was so good. Now it was my turn. The show came off as close to perfect as you can get. The band found a great groove on every song, even without a drummer. Marty played the sound board like an instrument, making sure that every instrument was fine tuned for every song and adding little reverb or delay “sweeteners” as well. Sure enough, it didn’t sound anything at all like the album, but it had a wonderful identity all its own.

Here is a video from the show titled, Light It Up. It was written with Phoebe Blume as a song of affirmation. However it seems to have been picked up locally as an anthem for the legalization of marijuana in Oregon. Hahaha, well whatever works.

Molly's Valentines Day 

I was rehearsing for my gig at Slim's in the St. Johns district of Portland, Oregon and I broke a nail. Yes, I have guitar nails on my right hand. Yes, I was actually rehearsing. So, I went to my local nail shop where they know me by name because I am the only guy that ever comes in there, to get Molly to fix me up with new nails. Molly is a really cute 40-something divorced Vietnamese woman who is always happy and full of energy, but I could tell that something was wrong. I mentioned that I hadn't seen her since before Christmas and asked her about her kids and her holiday. "Oh... everything go okay," she said. "I have my dog. I have my children and we had a good time together. But now it is Valentine's holiday." Then out of nowhere Molly said, "I was married for 23 years, but my husband never give me flowers. 23 years and he never told me that he loved me," and a sob caught in her throat. She pushed back a tear, but didn't apologize for revealing her private thoughts. I tried to lighten the mood and with a little smile I told her that she had to be careful what she said in front of a songwriter because it could wind up in a song. She managed a weak smile and said "that's okay. It can be Molly's Valentine's Day Song."


Recording Sitting In Aztec Chairs 

This five song EP was recorded at 8 Ball Studio in Portland, Oregon with a small band playing "live" in the studio, just the same way they made recordings years ago (you know, back in the day), playing live because they simply didn't have enough tracks back then. You can feel the energy as the musicians play off of each other's performances. It's an all star lineup of local Portland, Oregon players including Jeff Anthony (Sheryl Crow) on drums, Jean-Pierre Garau on keyboards, Michael Henchman on bass, and Bob Dunham on electric guitars. We recorded all five songs in one long afternoon. The only over-dubs were JP's acoustic piano solo on Chasing Midnight and a real Hammond organ on Light It Up and producer Rob Stroub adding some extra percussion. Then Kelly Brightwell came into the studio and added her amazing backing vocals. It seems like everyone in Portland wants to get Kelly to sing on their recordings. Rob did a fantastic job engineering the performances, especially since there were so many "moving parts", and the mix stands up to repeated listenings, sounding close and intimate; like you are sitting in the middle of the band for the recording. I couldn't be happier with the final results. I hope you enjoy the songs.

Woody Moran, JP Garau, Bob Dunham, Jeffrey Anthony, Michael Henchman

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Radio Stranger Joins David Wilcox

Doverlaff House Concerts, 7326 SE Woodward St, Portland, OR

Kelly Brightwell & Woody Moran as Radio Stranger open the David Wilcox show at the Doverlaff House Concert with a great set of their Eclectic Acoustic Pop co-writes. Wilcox appeared on the cover of Acoustic Guitar Magazine which described him as James Taylor combined with the "husky breathiness more reminiscent of the late Nick Drake" and said he was the "best known of the brilliant crop of singer-songwriters to emerge in the late '80s." David uses open tuning extensively, often in combination with customized capos with notches cut out to allow lower strings to ring open. He's been featured in Performing Songwriter magazine on five occasions. Suggested donation is $20.00. Contact to purchase your tickets.