This is a simply wonderful album [Friends Along the Way], truly excellent for the most part. Mitch Woods is a hugely talented, explosive pianist with a fine, tenor voice and a rollicking, rolling sense of fun at heart.
“Friends Along the Way” is his tour de force, the culmination of his enduring career. Only a musician’s musician could gather together talented friends like the ones on this record, a major achievement that should be a contender for a Grammy nomination.
– J. Poet, All Music Guide
While most current artists who do New Orleans music focus on either Meters-style funk or modern brass-band sounds, Woods is one of the very few who take it back to the 1950s. Through the power of his vocal and keyboard delivery and his employment of world-class musicians from the city itself, he succeeds brilliantly in keeping the tradition burning brightly.
Woods brings his personality to the material, playing some of the best articulated piano rolls and trills of his career and delivering what is hands down his best vocal performance.
Woods exhibits the knowing spirit of someone who’d grown up listening to New Orleans r&b greats on the radio while living smack dab in the middle of the bayous and canals of the Atchafalaya Basin.
Mitch Woods is undoubtedly one of the greatest contemporary exponents of the blues and rhythm ‘n blues piano tradition.
Van Morrison, together with Taj Mahal, appears on three tracks. “I was totally flattered – he’s been behind the project one hundred percent,” says Woods.
Mitch Woods has so strong an intuitive feel for blues and boogie piano that he can record with a pack of special guests without losing his way or being overshadowed.
Backed by The Rocket 88’s… Woods delivers a masterclass in piano blues that opens with the classic Crescent City stylings of “Solid Gold Cadillac” and relentlessly delivers blues and R&B of the highest order right through to the closing “House Of Blue Lights”.
Woods’ energetic renditions of Smiley Lewis’ under-appreciated work make “Gumbo Blues” more than worthy to stand alongside New Orleans best recordings.
Boogie pianist Woods may make his home in San Francisco, but at least part of his heart is in New Orleans.
Woods himself plays some sweet piano and sings his lines in a way that makes one think that rhythm’n’blueswas something his mama was giving him to drink along with fresh milk.