“Canada’s best kept secret,” songwriter Donovan Woods, is ready to take the wraps off his upcoming LP. Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled is set for release on February 26 via Woods’ own label, Meant Well. Continuing his simple mantra – ‘good songs win’ – Woods’ strong belief in the power of a good melody and the importance of everyday language rings through on Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled.
The record follows up his previous JUNO Award nominated album, Don’t Get Too Grand, and features some familiar tracks – “Portland, Maine” which has been recorded by Tim McGraw and “On The Nights You Stay At Home” which recently spent four weeks in the top three on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20.
Produced by James Bunton (Evening Hymns, The Wooden Sky), Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled is a record that is purposeful and honest. “For the first time I had a budget, and I was able to hire all the people I wanted,” says Woods. “The danger in that is that you might let people play on the songs only because they’re really good at playing. We tried to make sure every decision best served the song in question, and likely removed as many things as we added. My hope was that we’d make a record that pulsed with the stuff of real relationships and difficult decisions.”
Today listeners are treated to another glimpse of things to come on Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled with album cut “The First Time”. “I was recently reminded that people’s ‘first times’ are most often not that good, and I think that’s definitely right,” explains Woods. “To me, it’s about memories getting better with time, and coming to terms with the fact that you can never experience something the same way again because your memory of it is completely made-up. It’s also about not being able to measure up to someone’s idea of you.”
Pre-orders of Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled will receive an instant download of “The First Time” and “On The Nights You Stay Home”.
While amassing a catalogue of rousing and acclaimed music of his own, Woods’ has worked with some of the top songwriters in North America to craft cuts for performers ranging from Alan Doyle to Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum. It’s not that Woods makes music that is a product of both country and folk; it’s that he makes music that shows how distracting the line separating the two can be. Like with so many songwriters of note, what matters isn’t what you call it, or where it comes from, but the stories you tell, and the voice you use. And whether it’s Tim McGraw singing from atop a full-throttle stadium-show stage or a line whispered by Woods himself in a more intimate environment, one thing remains clear: Woods’ is a voice that demands attention.
Woods’ recently finished up a string of tour dates with Hawksley Workman, Terra Lightfoot, and The Bros. Landreth. Tour dates supporting Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled will be announced shortly.