Away With Words


Cover by Nicholas Reece

On August 18, 2023, physicist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and engineer Duncan Wood releases his debut self- produced album, Away With Words.

After several years amassing songs, Wood took the pandemic as the perfect opportunity to leave California and sequester in his hometown Maysville, Kentucky, to put words to tape and record his first full-length project, while continuing his Ph.D. research remotely.

The first session was for the title track, “A Way With Words”, recorded over a weekend with international jazz/pop/alternative up-and-comer Zach Moses (James Francies, Joel Ross, Louis Cole, J3PO, Zakir Hussain, Joshua Redman, Chris Botti, Ibrahim Maalouf, Esperanza Spalding, Joshua Bell…). The bombastic and dynamic orchestral arrangement has Wood covering voice, acoustic guitar, French horn, and flute; Moses plays drum kit, electric bass, synthesizers, piano, violin, and lap steel guitar. The success of this one-off session was a clear sign to start recording his first album.

Working on a grad student budget, Wood’s strategy was to use his electronics knowledge to build his own studio. He bought broken amps, audio interfaces, tape machines and speakers at bargain rates and repaired them on his parents’ porch. If the gear he needed to achieve his vision didn’t exist, he designed and built his own circuits from scratch.

His DIY approach applied to the performances as well. Except noted contributions from Moses on “A Way With Words” and upright bass on “In Kind”, Wood recorded every instrument himself – including guitar, bass guitar, pedal steel guitar, drum kit, percussion, kalimba, piano, French horn, trumpet, cornet, trombone, tenor saxophone, and flute. Despite the prevalence of the technique in modern music, there are no electronically programmed parts on this project – everything you hear is a real, human performance on a physical instrument.

He also wanted to avoid the extensive vocal pitch-correction that’s become ubiquitous in the last couple decades. He tapped UK opera alum Chanslor Gallenstein for voice lessons - and to contribute his own voice to “This Head Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us” and “Lightly”.

The bulk of the final recording was done in the old Keller home in nearby Ripley, OH, by courtesy of the family.


“Duncan Wood pens a new classic […] At its core the composition features intriguing changes outside the conventional. It tags classic contemporary trends while interjecting both dark and catchy flashes. It [complements] the […] intricate narrative, complicated but unassumingly empowering. Duncan seems to know what makes life complete while navigating the complex relationship systems that bury us all with every new life incident. Stylistically this is how we imagine a Rufus Wainwright, Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead collaboration might evolve.” - The Wild Is Calling

“The best debut album I’ve heard from any artist” – Justice Claveria

“The instrumentation work here is just exquisite. I absolutely adore it. I really love the vocals as well. It has a beautiful depth to it.” – F Sharp Minor

“An enchanting and intimate sound here, with jazz folk chords and orchestral build – absolutely epic arrangement as it grows…” – Zoe Konez

“Gorgeous guitar work with some really pretty tones and arrangements. Well sung and the lyrics have a poignant streak.” - We All Want Someone To Shout For

“…captivated by the guitar accompaniment that with great mastery and, at the same time, delicacy and together with [his] sweet voice transport the listener to a cozy musical atmosphere.” – Peaceful Notes

“I’m really enjoying the intricate instrumentation, the raw and intimate feeling of the soundscape, the warm guitar and the arrangements in the last section that add so much brightness and energy to the ambience, the vocals are sounding very engaging too, expressive and honest” - Phonograph Me

“The gentle, patient rhythm evokes a reflective and intimate sound, as captured by the vocals themselves” – Various Small Flames



Duncan Wood: Voice, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Pedal Steel, Drum Kit, Percussion, Kalimba, Piano, French Horn, Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Arrangement, Engineering, Mixing

Zach Moses: Mastering, Bass Guitar (3), Drum Kit (3), Synthesizer (3), Piano (3), Violin (3), Lap Steel (3), Upright Bass (7), Engineering (3), Mixing (3), Arrangement (1, 3, 6), Performance and Mix Consulting

Chanslor Gallenstein: Voice (2, 6), Voice Coaching

Nicholas Reece: Cover Photography, Supporting Art, Drum Arrangement (2)

Dominic Keller: Post-Production Recording Assistance (4)


Thank you Dad - for picking up those bargain bin horns when the music store shut down, for filling the house with Rotary songs, for putting up with the drum kit, for showing me James Taylor.

Thank you Mom - for sharing your childhood flute, for driving me to endless rehearsals, for always putting your kids first, for showing me Carol King.

Thank you Caroline, Shaun, Nick, Sophie, Dennison, Theresa, Dominic, Jonas, Luke, Carolanne, and the late, great Denny - for inviting me to use your family home as a recording space. The sound of that legendary house lives forever in these recordings.

Thank you Zach - for being there from the beginning to the very end, for prioritizing my work, and more than anything else, for wholeheartedly believing in me.

Thank you Chanslor - for putting the “singer” in “singer/songwriter”. This record, and my future work, is immeasurably improved by the hours you put in.

Thank you Nick - for your beautiful artwork, for taking the long way home with me and my gear in 2020, for keeping me sane and making music with me during the pandemic.

Thank you Hanna, Greg, Zach, Sam, Is and Luc - for always making me feel at home, no matter how much noise I’ve made in your family room.

In memory of Woodson Wood, Barbara Gerner, and Angel Wood.