Music is what makes Chris Wood tick.

The 52-year-old bassist is co-founder of The Wood Brothers, a roots band based in Nashville, Tennessee. Together with Chris’s brother Oliver on guitar and Jano Rix on drums and keyboards, the trio records and performs a unique blend of roots American music inspired by blues, gospel, soul, R&B, jazz, folk and rock & roll.  The Wood Brothers have gained a following across North America, performing year-round from coast to coast. They first recorded on Blue Note Records before a stint on country singer Zac Brown’s label, leading to some collaborations with The Zac Brown Band. In 2018, The Wood Brothers received a Grammy nomination for their record One Drop of Truth, released on their own Honey Jar Records label.

However, life changing events and a pandemic brought Chris from Nashville to British Columbia. He married Laura Matthias, a wildlife biologist from BC. The couple recently moved from Salt Spring Island to Pender Island, where they run a small farm growing vegetables and hops. Through her work studying endangered species, restoring wetlands and collaborating with various organizations to conserve wildlife habitat, Laura has learned that the best way to help remaining wildlife is to conserve and preserve. She has collaborated with The Nature Trust of BC and liked their focus on land acquisitions and land management.

“I’m very influenced by her, always interested in and passionate about the environment and what we can do, but I think for probably most of my life I was a bit overwhelmed and not sure what kind of action to take. I was wanting to live what I believed, and so that’s kind of what led us here.”

Chris wanted to find a way to help, so this year The Wood Brothers will be donating one dollar from each ticket sold to The Nature Trust of BC.

Chris Wood; photo: Gus Philippas

So far, The Wood Brothers have raised significant donations for The Nature Trust. The individual contributions are small but they add up over the course of the year. The Wood Brothers are what is referred to as a “third party partner”, a group that collaborates with The Nature Trust to relay individual small donations to conservation as one large contribution. Often (but not always), a portion of sales is donated, like when you add on an extra few cents for charity to a purchase at the grocery store. The Nature Trust has collaborated with a number of third party partners, including Healthy Hooch Kombucha, local artist Elizabeth Gad and fundraisers Megan and Cody Kelso.

The Wood Brothers’ will be donating a dollar from every ticket sold at their concerts to American Friends of Canadian Conservation to support The Nature Trust’s efforts. Every dollar will be matched with two from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, so more endangered wetlands in BC can be saved.

At the end of the day, Chris is glad that his beloved music can make a difference for the environment.

“I think it took a long time to understand and appreciate that I could do anything useful with my platform…I think it’s very important that we have to work across borders to preserve some kind of connectivity in terms of habitats and [bird] migration routes for all sorts of reasons.”

“We have to do things for wildlife for its own sake, and conservation is so important for that and land acquisitions are so important for that, and The Nature Trust seems to be doing a great job of that…If we can work across the borders, eventually I think it makes a bigger impact.”

The Nature Trust would like to thank The Wood Brothers and all other third party partners for their valuable contributions to making our mission possible. Visit our website to learn more about how you can donate to wetland conservation as a partner.

Featured Image: Alysse Gafkjen