Royal Wood at Starlight (Nov. 9)

iTunes songwriter of the year Royal Wood played at Starlight last week during the second month of a tour promoting his new record The Waiting.

Wood primarily performs in larger theatres these days due to his recent successes, so it was a rare pleasure to see the artist play a small club venue.

Toronto based singer-songwriter Emma Lee opened the show with her beautiful folky jazz melodies, stunning voice and lyrics that dig deep into the crux of the unembellished life.

Wood played with a full band, combining storytelling and rock ‘n’ roll with honest lyrics and a lot of noise.

For a portion of the evening, he reverted to a more intimate style, playing only his guitar backed by a double bass — a reflection of Royal’s past performances.

The show was well attended, with many seatless fans standing attentively for the entire performance as Wood moved from piano to guitar and back again.

Wood’s songs were interspersed with his wry sense of humor that reflected his eight years in the business.

The audience was an involved one, laughing at his banter and clapping along to the rhythm section during “On Top of Your Love.”

The audience sang along unreservedly to the heart-melting ballad “Lady in White” and gathered in droves to purchase CDs after Royal Wood’s incredible encore performance.

A number of changes have come around for Wood with the release of his newest record, which he claims is “probably the most personal and introspective” record he has made so far.

Anyone familiar with Royal Wood’s musical career, which really got rolling in 2004 with the release of his first full-length album Tall Tales, knows how devoted an artist he is. Until his most recent record, Wood had not only produced all of his records on his own but also played most of the instruments on them.

Feeling it was time to step outside his comfort zone, he decided to enlist the help of a talented group of musicians, as well as producer Pierre Marshall (who worked extensively with Sarah McLaughlin).

“Having other people’s opinions, my band coming in and playing instead of me playing everything was strange territory,” Wood told The Cord..“I don’t regret any of those decisions. I think this is my best record.”

Speaking with regards to the critical acclaim and awards that Wood has achieved, he claims, “It can’t change you. If you start believing the reviews you read then you’re screwed.

The only reason I started making music in the first place is the same reason I started when I was a little kid, it brings me joy. It’s what I always wanted to do. I didn’t want to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone, I just wanted to make music.”

Inspiring words in a time where musical success is too often characterized by money and appearance.

Royal Wood will be carrying out the remainder of his three-month tour with award winning indie-pop artist Hannah Georgas until Nov. 26, where he will wrap up The Waiting tour at Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

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