Market Hall Performing Arts Centre Inc.

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Market Hall Performing Arts Centre
140 Charlotte Street, 3rd floor
Peterborough ON
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Donovan Woods Presented by Market Hall PAC

Donovan Woods Presented by Market Hall PAC
Friday, October 25 • 8 PM

Donovan Woods has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 per ticket goes to supporting The Unison Fund and their work to provide counseling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community.

Since he released his first album a decade ago, singer-songwriter Donovan Woods’ blend of folk, country and pop has resonated with audiences all over the world. In recent years, the acclaimed, award-winning singer-songwriter has seen his profile grow with his breakthrough album, Without People.

Touring behind (2020’s) Without People saw Woods play to his largest audiences to date. That included a stint opening for New Jersey-based retro rockers Gaslight Anthem on their recent reunion tour.

Throughout his distinguished career, Donovan Woods has built a devoted following who cling to the acclaimed songwriter’s every word. Never one to mince words, Woods is one of music’s most vulnerable storytellers and on his forthcoming studio album, Donovan takes that a step further. Honest and unflinching, on Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now, his upcoming seventh studio album, Woods takes a long look inside and isn’t necessarily thrilled with what he sees. For an artist who isn’t afraid to bear his soul, this is as emotionally gritty as he has ever been.
Long known as a masterful storyteller, Woods is at his absolute best on Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now. Across the album’s 12 sparse, intimate songs, Woods finds himself reflecting on the ups and downs he has been through since 2020. His writing allowed him to open up and address the complexities of life that he has been going through. The album, he notes, serves as “a funeral to the life he was living.”

Sonically, Woods decided to take a different approach.

“We had our boundaries and made things sound beautiful within them,” he says. “And what’s left is scrappier than Without People, but I feel like moments of creation are much more accessible on this record.”

Many of the songs that comprise Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now focus on the intricacies of friendships and relationships, and looking at the little moments in life. Co-produced with longtime collaborator James Bunton over much of 2023, the album’s delicate nature is reflected in its lyrics.

The psychology of people’s actions always fascinated Woods and informs much of Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now. Focusing on happy, party feelings doesn’t appeal to him.

Once he gets down these darker paths (“It was a warts and all album in a way that I never had done before”), which he admits can be uncomfortable, the songs flow and are universal.

In particular, on the heart-wrenching “Rosemary”. Co-written with Connor Seidel, “Rosemary” contemplates what happens in the aftermath of a heated argument.

“Have you ever had a fight by text message? And it’s long, and existential,” he says. “Someone did something wrong and maybe that’s it.” Continuing, he explains that “Rosemary” is about “finally admitting all your faults, showing your actual self and asking, can you still love me? And really wanting an answer either way.”

Not everything is doom and gloom.

On “When Our Friends Come Over,” Woods sings lovingly about a couple who rediscover their affection for one another. Featuring Madi Diaz on vocals, the song highlights how two partners are able to appreciate each other in the presence of others. Even though they're going through a rocky patch, Woods shows how even the tiniest of gestures are the true signs of love.

Throughout an album of heart wrenching songs, none hit harder than “Back for the Funeral.” Taking place in a small town, a group of friends who haven’t seen each other in years return to memorialize a schoolmate after they overdosed on pills.

“There's so much writing done about being back in your hometown and what it does to you,” Woods explains. “But there’s the idea that you only go there with bad news—which can be true—and what it does to your feelings about your hometown.”

However, the song poignantly shows that even though someone may return to their hometown for unfortunate reasons, reconnecting with old friends is a positive byproduct of the circumstance.

As Woods continues to work on himself, Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now is the portrait of a songwriter at his creative best. Addressing the truths and pains of life is never easy, and here, he does so in a way that’s brutally honest. After all, that’s what great songwriters do.
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