James Jackson Toth (aka Wooden Wand) has long been adamant that he's a songwriter first and singer second. That may have been true on older albums, but not Briarwood. The record is so fully realized that it's impossible to separate words from voice from music. All three melt into a rumbling goo of rock, country, blues, soul and gospel. This is thick and weary folk music for Middle America. No growth, just day-to-day maintenance: rust, wood paneling and gray skies. The Wand is still a young dude with more music inside him, but don't be surprised if Briarwood goes down as a career highlight.