Wood Box Heroes is a relatively new group, birthed from the increasingly common “experienced sidemen get together and start a band” phenomenon. But this bunch did it in the sidemaniest possible way… they were all hired to go out on a short tour together, and liked it so well they decided to stick together.
It all started when bluegrass singer/songwriter Josh Martin needed a band to accompany him on a brief midwestern tour. He reached out to celebrated Nashville fiddler and vocalist Jenee Fleenor, who immediately suggested Barry Bales on bass. They picked up banjo master Matt Menefee and Seth Taylor on mandolin, and headed out on tour playing Josh’s original material.
Barry told us this time last year that they had a blast together, and felt like the music they were making was worthy of continuing, so they decided to give it a go.
A self-titled debut EP followed last summer, and now the Wood Box Heroes are back with a new single, Cross The Line. It’s a high intensity, fast moving grasser with distinct echoes of New Grass Revival.
Martin says that he has had this one in his pocket for a while, waiting for the right time to cut it.
“I actually wrote Cross the Line back in 2018 as a pitch for another bluegrass band who was really picking up steam in the business, and getting ready to cut another record. But they never recorded the song, and I always loved the intensity of the music, paired with the imagery and subject matter of frantically searching for a way to ease this pain of lost love, even to the point of being tempted to ‘cross the line.’ I think the song has found its ultimate destiny with this lineup of pickers and vocal personalities.
The instrumentation that my bandmates (Jenee Fleenor, Barry Bales, Matt Menefee, Seth Taylor) built around it is absolutely slammin’! And Jenee’s background vocal, which, to me comes off as more of a duet vocal than being tucked away in the background, is just out of this world!”
The Heroes performed this one on the Opry, and you can see and hear the power they generate on stage in this live video.
Cross The Line from Wood Box Heroes is available today from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers can get the track at AirPlay Direct.