With a new album in the works we spoke to folky-country-Americana kind of guy, Donovan Woods, about the six artists that inspire him. His eclectic mix mirrors his approach to new music, we’ll let the man himself explain.
Soon I’ll be releasing new music, and I’ll promote it on my social media platforms, but I’m not interested in getting back to business as usual. This release will feel different, purposefully. So many artists are out of work, or in precarious situations. We’ll be diverting funds that would normally go to advertising and hiring independent creators.
We’ll be using promo budgets to support Black-owned and indigenous-owned businesses, and partnering with independent record stores to make ordering vinyl easier and more meaningful.
This new record is about the hopelessness of writing relationship songs when it feels like it’s the end of the world. Hopefully it’s just the end of the unjust world we’ve known. Reach out with any ideas you might have and I’ll see you soon.
Andy Irvine & Paul Brady
These are Irish folk artists who play traditional Irish music. They have an album together called, get this, Andy Irvine & Paul Brady. It has a beautiful purple cover. I have some songwriter friends and we sometimes get a bit high in a dim room with some good speakers and take turns trying to blow each other’s minds with music recommendations. Someone once thoroughly blew my mind with their version of ‘Arthur McBride’. It’s plain storytelling gracefully laid into beautiful melodies. All the songs are good. Every nuance is interesting to me.
Cool people know about Nina, I didn’t know until a cool person told me. First thing I listened to was her album The Blackened Air and it hit hard. Some of her songs feel like remnants of old songs that exist only to push you sweetly into the next one. Kind of like how there are some products at Ikea that are only there to make the other ones look better. That’s a bad analogy, because all Nina’s songs are good. But, like, those LACK tables are alright in most ways too. She seems unburdened by her great ability and it’s a joy to listen to.
A massive collaborator, an innovator. Anything he’s involved in is massively listenable and a reminder to most producers that their sounds are not good enough. Start with his 99.9% and just let it ride for the night.
Hip-hop obviously is the most vital genre. It’s defining this era, and to hear it evolve and change lanes is the most exciting part of today’s pop music. This guy is a joy to listen to. Really strong voice and POV and he has this wonderful self-consciousness that undercuts his bravado and makes it all feel stronger in a way. Start with ‘Woodlawn’ from his new record.
I know you don’t like country music, or maybe you do. I like it, in theory. I like country radio because it’s like listening to nothing. I mean that in a good way. Hardy is exciting to me because he doesn’t feel full of shit. He doesn’t have that too-polished feel that so many country artists have. He was raised with country music influenced by hip-hop and he liked it, so that’s what he makes. I would personally start with ‘This Ole Boy’. He’s a next-level melodist – they all sound classic but somehow pushed a bit too far in a good way. It’s a guy doing exactly what he wants, and that’s always compelling.
She’s Canadian and her music feels dreamy but also very grounded and human. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but her new music is really finding new ground. Her forthcoming record was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner. ‘That Emotion’ was the first song I heard from it and it’s lovely.