Both Ways is the fifth album from Canadian singer-songwriter Donovan Woods. It is a strong collection of songs that defies genre labels. For those who are unfamiliar with Woods’ music, echoes of songwriters such as Ron Sexsmith, David Baerwald, and Fred Eaglesmith ring through this work.
Between his own releases (recording an album every three years or so), and writing for other artists in Nashville, Donovan Woods has moved into the echelon of being a “songwriter’s songwriter”. This fact is apparent in the stunning array of songs on Both Ways. Alternately sad and funny, confessional and philosophical, Woods draws the listener in and keeps them engaged and entertained.
Starting with the simple arrangement of the opening track, “Good Lover”, the artist hooks us with his honest style. His band then kicks into gear, providing full-blown production on subsequent tunes. Standout songs are many, but the assertive “Burn That Bridge” and the expansive, anthemic “Truck Full of Money” are of particular note, the latter song evoking the structure and dynamics of early Springsteen or Arcade Fire.
Donovan Woods is a master storyteller and painter of pictures in song. Whether singing about intense feelings of love, or the sense of loss over the death of a troubled friend, Woods’ songs work on multiple levels, and he allows his audience to inhabit the same space as his characters. Both Ways is a must-hear album for fans of superior songwriting, beautifully executed.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: DONOVAN WOODS – BOTH WAYS