20 Things you didn’t know about Wood Belly

Colorado’s Wood Belly is led by a pair of prolific songwriters, with tunes carefully crafted to ring out with honesty and passion. Wood Belly was a 2018 IBMA Momentum Nominee. The group blends traditional bluegrass with modern songwriting, and in 2018 released their debut album, Solid Ground, and also won the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition.

Wood Belly was born when Chris Weist (mandolin) met Craig Patterson (guitar) and Chris Zink (dobro) at the RockyGrass Festival in 2015. Within a year, they had teamed up with Aaron McCloskey (banjo) and Taylor Shuck (bass), and the music immediately fell into place. Since then the band has played at an ever-expanding list of great venues including the Mishawaka amphitheater, the Fox Theater (Boulder), and Cervantes (Denver). Their festival resume includes the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rapidgrass, the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, the Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival, The Wyoming State Bluegrass and BBQ festival, Snowygrass, Grapes and Grass, and more.

  1. Chris Weist (mandolin) spent an entire summer through hiking the Appalachian Trail.
  2. Chris Weist got charged by a mamma bear and lived to tell.
  3. Chris Weist has a Bachelors degree in Finance…nothing says bluegrass music like finance!
  4. None of the band members have tattoos.
  5. The whole band played in different genres before they found bluegrass
  6. The bands first gig was booked before they had an official name.
  7. Chris Zink (dobro) moved to Colorado with $300 and whatever could fit in his Camry. He lived in a tent in the mountains for over a month while finding a job and saving enough money for an apartment.
  8. Chris Zink graduated from Colorado State as the Geoscience Senior of the Year. Wait…does that say bluegrass even more than finance?
  9. Chris Zink is the reigning band arm wrestling champion.
  10. Every member of Wood Belly writes and writing/arranging is a very collaborative process.
  11. All band members were born in different sates outside of Colorado. Massachusetts, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Virginia.
  12. Taylor Shuck (bass) is related to Count Von Zeppelin, the inventor of the Zeppelin. 
  13. Taylor once was a child actor on Rescue 911 and played a boy who got a toothbrush stuck in his throat. 
  14. All five members LOVE pickin’ at bluegrass festivals and hanging in the festival campground.
  15. The band loves John Hartford and dreams of doing a river boat tour someday.
  16. They have an alter-ego band coach named Big Ern with a famous Instagram show.
  17. Aaron McCloskey (banjo) builds and designs custom tube amplifiers, McClostone Amplifiers
  18. Aaron loves to travel and eat and is known to search out delicious food throughout Southeast Asia.
  19. In high school, Aaron’s favorite genre of music was hip hop…he’s come a long way!
  20. Craig Patterson (guitar) is a bee-keeper and moonshiner.

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About the Author

Claire Ratliff

Claire Ratliff is the President and Senior Publicist with Laughing Penguin Publicity. Her company provides publicity and marketing/promotional services including media relations, graphic design, photography, and copy writing. They work with a variety of bluegrass and country artists in Nashville.