Events

April 23 – Donovan Woods

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Late at night, when a hush fell over the house after his kids ¬went to bed, Donovan Woods got to work on his latest album, Without People. In a makeshift recording studio at his Toronto home, the acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter tracked his vocals and guitar alone and then emailed files to producer James Bunton. As Woods’ new songs took shape, backing musicians sketched out their own parts in isolation from their respective homes.

This is not how Woods, winner of the 2019 JUNO Award for contemporary roots album (for Both Ways) and whose global streams have surpassed 210 million, prefers to create music. “So much of what I like about making records is the spontaneity of making music in a room together, and we missed that,” Woods says. “But we tried our best to re-create that feeling.” For an album made so piecemeal, Without People (out now on Woods’ Meant Well label) has been acclaimed as “a nuanced experience” (American Songwriter), a thoughtful exploration of “fleeting interpersonal moments now under the microscope” (NPR/KUTX) and “various aspects of human connection” (Rolling Stone), and for striking “a gentle, poignant note” (Billboard).

Without People prompted Woods to reckon with why his songwriting has been so invested in the human condition throughout his decade-long career. The short answer? Relationships are what bind us, and what matters most is how we treat one another and whether we’re truly listening and trying to understand experiences distinct from our own.

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