Today is the official release day for Donovan Woods' "Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled". It's a good day. And it's a great album! Donovan is known for his songwriting for good reason - he writes stellar songs. The recording of this album was about a couple of things : first, making sure that the songs didn't get lost in the recording process, and, second, making an album that sounded like one that we wanted to hear. For an artist like Donovan, one with the ability to exist in so many different realms of the music world, be it as a songwriter in Nashville, or an independent solo singer and acoustic guitar player, or a writer of pop songs, or as an alt-country artist, or a hilarious entity in the Twitter-shpere, it can be hard to know what exactly the genuine article is supposed to sound like. To Donovan's credit, he was clear that he wanted to make an album that just sounded like him - not worrying about where it all fell into as far as categorization once released and send out into the world. And to that end, i think we were successful. I hope that anyone who listens to the album can hear the sound of a genuinely talented artist and songwriter actualizing his songs in a way that he wants them to sound. And I hope that the sound of his honesty and intent is an enjoyable listen for all!
"Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled" is also full of incredible talent playing on it : Jon Hynes is responsible for the bass and electric guitar work, and has been the catalyst for making this album happen as it did. Robbie Grunwald covers the keyboarding duties, providing piano, organ and wurly parts that do just the right things. Aaron Goldstein does some fantastic pedal steel work, as he is known to do, and Miranda Mulholland gives us some heartbreaking violin lines. Robyn Dell'Unto shares some whispery and intimate backing vocals, and there is some fantastic string arranging by Drew Jurecka, performed by Drew, Rebekah Wolkstein, Kathleen Kajiloka and Amy Laing. And a good portion of the tracking was done by John Dinsmore at Lincoln County Social Club, which always sounds fantastic.
In any case, it's an album that I think is worth a listen. Check it out on iTunes by clicking THIS or clicking on the image below. Enjoy it, and look out for more to come from Donovan in the future. - jB