Brian Aldridge to Wood Family Tradition

Serious bluegrass fans are well aware of the deep tradition of music to be found in western North Carolina. So many fine artists and songs have been found in that rich vein, with no less an icon that Earl Scruggs having bubbled up within it at the very beginning.

Another name that resonates loudly in the region is that of A.L. Wood, who performed starting in the 1960s with his Smokey Ridge Boys. A terrific lead singer and banjo player, Wood was also a creative and prolific songwriter in his day. A.L. is still with us, but at 81 years of age, he doesn’t get around as much as he once did.

The Wood Family continues on in his stead, however, as the Wood Family Tradition. Kinship means a lot in this group, with A.L.’s two sons, Mike and Bobby, leading the band. Both learned the music at their father’s knee, playing with him as members of the Smokey Ridge Boys in their youth, and are honored to keep his music alive going into a third generation.

Along with Mike on guitar and Bobby on bass, the Tradition also features Jason Wood, Mike’s son, on mandolin, and Jason’s wife Mackenzie on vocals. They have just added Brian Aldridge on banjo, late of Sideline, who is also part of the clan by dint of marrying Jason’s sister. It’s all Wood, all the time!

The band is working now on a new album which will include some of A.L.’s unrecorded songs. Jason owns Wood Tone Publishing, and has been able to publish several of his grandfather’s unrecorded songs. The elder Wood is a big supporter of the Family Tradition band, and is delighted that the legacy still continues.

Here’s a recent video of them doing a live performance for WPAQ radio in Mt Airy, with Mackenzie singing the Osborne Brothers classic, Making Plans. The second mandolinist represents the 4th generation of A.L.’s progeny, Brian and Amanda Aldridge’s son, Carson.

The band is booking actively now for 2019 and beyond. They can be contacted online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.