Oliver Wood is a mainstay of modern-day American roots music. The frontman of the Wood Brothers since 2004, he's spent the 21st century blurring the boundaries between folk, gospel, country-soul, and Americana, earning an international audience and a Grammy Award-nomination along the way. Always Smilin', his debut as a solo artist, continues that tradition while also shining new light on Oliver's sharp songwriting, savvy guitar chops, and a voice that evokes the swagger of a Saturday evening picking party one moment and the solemnity of a Sunday morning gospel service the next. Always Smilin' is an album of bridges, mixing a wide range of collaborations with a uniquely personal touch. Guests include bandmates from Oliver's musical past and present, from mentor and co-writer Chris Long (who performed alongside Oliver in King Johnson, the roots-rock band that dominated Atlanta's music scene around the turn of the millennium) to percussionist Jano Rix (Oliver's partner in The Wood Brothers). Blues heroine Susan Tedeschi, Hiss Golden Messenger's Phil Cook, Medeski Martin & Wood's John Medeski, Tedeschi Trucks Band's Tyler Greenwell, Nashville staple Phil Madeira, and singer/songwriter Carsie Blanton also make appearances, with Rebecca Wood - Oliver's wife - handling the album's handmade linocut cover art.