On an average walk, run or bike ride on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike-Trail, outdoor enthusiasts can not only expect to hear birds chirping and dogs barking, but also music playing.
In 2004, singer-songwriter Woode Wood recognized that Austin’s music scene could reach beyond downtown Austin. Wood began playing for trail regulars at Auditorium Shores and has since moved to a nook where Barton Creek meets Town Lake. This nook, which Wood has played at since 2007, is now known as Woode’s Point.
Wood’s career started in 1992 when he was taught five chords in an hour. At the time, Wood was working as a cook. However, after discovering his passion for music, he quit cooking and became a taxi driver to fund what he hoped would become a music career. After raising money, Wood’s aspirations brought him to Austin.
“I was trying to decide where to move — LA, New York, Nashville — and I was watching Johnny Carson. Ann Richards, the governor of Texas at the time, came on. In her segment all she did was talk about the Austin music scene,” Wood said. “I didn’t know anything about Austin, but I pointed at the TV and said, ‘That’s where I’m going.’”
When Wood first arrived in Austin, he performed solo at open mics around town, most notably at the Saxon Pub and Cactus Cafe. However, Wood wanted to reach a larger audience and was then attracted to the trail surrounding Town Lake.
Since his decision to perform at the trail, Wood has touched thousands of people through his music and friendly nature. UT alumna and trail regular Ashley Tuck, class of ‘10, first noticed Wood while frequenting the trail during her time at UT and their friendship has since grown.
“We had a five minute talk almost every day. (Wood) would play me a song. He is always positive and just makes me happy and brightens my day,” Tusk said. “He’s almost like the Stevie Ray (Vaughan) statue. When you go for a jog you see the statue and you see Woode, too.”
UT alumnus Marni Franscell, class of ‘00, met Wood 15 years ago when he played at Auditorium Shores. Franscell describes Wood as someone capable of turning anyone’s bad day around.
“Woode is just so engaging. We just started chatting every day,” Franscell said. “I could always look forward to seeing him on the trail. I still do. Even now, if I’m having a bad day I know where I can find him.”
Wood said that his music is meant to inspire people and bring more love into the world. Trail frequenters often stop to hear his songs and talk to him, as he plays and sells his albums at Woode’s Point from 10 a.m. to noon daily. Wood deeply values the time he spends with each person.
“Everything is about love,” Wood said. “You’d be shocked by how many people give me love in 15 minutes. It’s just amazing. I try to impact people one on one. If you show people kindness and love then it will be easier for them to do the same for somebody else.”
More of Wood’s music and story is available on his website, Spotify and Facebook.