Stand & Sway
Texan-raised, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Beth Wood has won almost every major songwriting competition in the United States, and with 20 years of touring and 11 studio albums under her belt, she’s done. With anything that doesn’t bring her joy. So she’s added publishing poetry now, and tortilla making, and teaching songwriting and poetry to pass the torch of music for music’s sake. Beth’s mission is to communicate and share the joy she feels through singing – through music as a spiritual practice. When you see her live you’ll taste this, and you’ll understand why Beth has long been one of the most beloved singer-songwriters in the industry.
Appalachia-raised, Washington-based Ara James (formerly Ara Lee) is a singer, poet, and activist with an unmistakable sound, commanding presence, and a voice that will leave you speechless. Ara has been singing professionally for over 20 years as an award-winning soloist, studio vocalist, and songwriter (formerly Ara Lee). Rooted in the traditions of gospel and deep South soul, Ara holds court on stage like a modern-day mystic. When you see her live you’ll wonder what just happened to you, and you will understand why Beth grabbed her after a show and said “We have to work together.”
And so they did. As a duo, Wood and James push the boundaries of soul and folk music and attempt to break down the walls that have separated the worlds of music and poetry. Wood and James Stand and Sway. The two also sit down and cry when it’s tough, laugh when it’s useless, and sing really, really loud often. They write, speak, tour, and teach poetry and singing workshops to inspire those disempowered to find their voices, because they agree that women singing unapologetically together can rattle glass ceilings. Their upcoming album, set to be released in the Spring of 2019, takes soul, folk, spoken word, Americana, gospel, and blues, shakes them around in a basket of harmony, and makes what they affectionately call “grown-out-roots-music.”
What began as a collaboration on the anthem “Nasty Woman” has evolved into its own beautiful thing – Stand and Sway: a meeting of minds, voices, hearts, and spirits. Wood and James’s distinct and powerful voices stand strong on their own, and together they create magic, energy, and community everywhere they go.