The Wendy Woo Band has emerged from many musicians and several recordings. Lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Wendy Woo has been in the music scene for several years, and it all started with her early influences and an acoustic guitar. Having been in the high school choir, Wendy started learning how to play guitar after she graduated so she could keep singing. The folk-rock music of Suzanne Vega and Paul Simon influenced Wendy to stick with the acoustic guitar, rather than switching primarily to electric, and to take from her roots in Boulder and add her own style to it. It wasn’t until 1995, after working at the Fox Theatre in Boulder for a few years, that she started to perform her songs on stage with a band. Some of her first songs, “Gravity” and “Down and Dirty,” were played at her early shows.
While working at the Fox, Wendy added many accolades to her resume. When Sheryl Crow came to town, her opening act dropped out and Wendy took their place. In 1999, Wendy won a battle of the bands competition which allowed her to play in the Lilith Fair at Fiddler’s Green, with such acts as the Indigo Girls and Sarah McLachlan. Wendy won awards for Best Local Artist (Colorado Daily) and Independent Artist of the Year (Hapi Skratch Entertainment) among others. Her songs were used commercially as well, in the Food Network’s “FoodNation with Bobby Flay” and in the 1999 Discovery Channel documentary “Mountain of Dreams.” During this time Wendy produced Angels in the Crowd (1997) and put out another album Wide Awake and Dreaming (1999). In 2000 Wendy left the Fox, after nearly seven years, to pursue music full-time.
Since her time at the Fox Wendy has produced three more of her own recordings: Ecolalia (2001), Gonna Wear Red (2002) and Angels Laughing (2005). Prior to her recording of Walking the Skyline (2004), Wendy sought out a band that would help her write and develop songs. With the release of Luxury (2006), Wendy had formed a trio with Chris Maestas on drums and Mitch DeZwarte on bass, both of whom wrote songs on the album.
From the age of six, Chris Maestas has been playing drums. For nearly ten years Chris worked at Rupp’s Drums in Denver as well as manufactured custom drum kits. Some of his customers include current drummer Daren Hahn, Brian Nevin of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, the Fray and Jane’s Addiction. Chris started to put a band together in elementary school and over the years he has played with numerous bands and recorded with a few, but it wasn’t until he joined Wendy’s band that he found a niche where he could record, produce, write and perform. On Luxury, Chris produced the album, wrote the music for “Crisis” as well as co wrote most of the songs with Wendy. A year after the album's release, Chris switched from drums to bass because after years of playing drums his left hand would seize up during songs. To accompany Chris’ transition to bass, Mitch played guitar and keyboards for the band. Prior to adding Mitch DeZwarte to the band in 2005, Wendy met Chris Maestas at Rupp’s Drums in 2002. She and Chris have since gone on to have a little drummer boy of their own, Little Chris.
After getting a recommendation from a friend at Guitar X, a custom bass shop, Wendy auditioned Mitch DeZwarte to play bass in her band. In the spring of 2009, Mitch amicably left the band, after four years of playing with them. With Wendy’s band, Mitch wrote the song “Gone” and recorded bass on Luxury as well as played many shows with them over the years.
Written by Linzy Novotny
The Reviews are in...
“As for Luxury, her new CD is everything you would expect from one of Colorado's favorite singer/songwriters. Woo blazes her own path in music and Luxury fits well in that special genre of music we call WOO. Decidedly darker than her last CD, Angels Laughing, Luxury is rich powerful and - while many of the songs deal with serious issues - rendered with Woo's characteristic heartwarming style. With six independently released CDs since 1997 and a large following of loyal fans, Woo is one of Colorado's treasures and is long overdue for some serious national attention.” http://www.whatsdoingtonight.com/denver
“Change is good. Change is growth. Over the course of her six-CD solo recording career, Wendy Woo has always made excellent music and never had two albums that were alike. She continues that tradition with the release of Luxury (WooMusic Records). Credited as the debut of The Wendy Woo Trio, it’s practically the coming out party for drummer Chris Maestas. Long regarded as one of Denver’s finest percussionists, Chris debuts his considerable composition skills co-writing seven tracks with Wendy. He also produced the project, plays guitar on “Knowledge,” and sings backup with bassist/keyboardist Mitch DeZwarte on “I Don’t Know.” The result is edgier, sometimes darker sound than anything Wendy has recorded before, especially on the bookend songs “Knowledge” and “Crisis.” Two songs are reprised from her last solo acoustic album Angels Laughing: where “Addicted to You” comes even more alive with the full band arrangement, little is really added to “Afraid of the Dark.” Lyrically, the songs touch on everything from current events to relationships. Every cut is strong, and radio should jump on “I Don’t Know,” “Out of My Head Over You,” “Heat,” “Roll with the Punches,” Mitch’s composition “Gone,” and a song I’ve always considered one of Wendy Woo’s greatest hits in concert: “Addicted to You.” Highly Recommended.” J.R. Wolfe, Colorado Music Buzz, March 23, 2007
“Denver DIY queen Wendy Woo is hardworking and prolific; Luxury, whose release is being celebrated on Friday, March 23, at a Fox Theatre party opened by the Chris Webb Band, is Woo's seventh CD since 1997. This time, however, the disc is credited to the Wendy Woo Trio as a way of marking the contributions of bassist Mitch DeZwarte and drummer Chris Maestas. That's appropriate, since the recording's best moments are those in which the players inject some toughness into their employer's familiar sound.
There's nothing particularly wrong with "Out of My Head Over You" or "Afraid of the Dark"; Woo has cut plenty of tunes like this before, and she'll do so again. More interesting, though, are "Knowledge," which sports a dramatic arrangement and impassioned vocals; "Luxury," featuring memorable call-and-response background singing and a strong guitar solo; and "I Don't Know," a reggae rocker marked by something resembling edginess.
That's the power of three.” Michael Roberts, Westword, March 21, 2007