Donovan Woods was in on the joke when he named his latest release. Riffing on a lyric from a Martin Simpson song (“Never Any Good”), Big Hurt Boy is a six-song exploration of how our failures — and our fixations on them — not only shape but enlighten us.
“I write about them again and again, just hoping people will still be interested,” the acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter says. “So the title is poking fun of myself, that I’m theoretically this big sad guy who keeps getting dumped and writing fucking songs about it.”
Or you could think of it this way: Woods’ deep curiosity about the human condition is why we so clearly hear our own stories in his. The details differ, the characters change, but at their core, Donovan Woods songs are for and about everyone.
That’s particularly apparent on his new EP, which will be released March 18, 2022. Trying to capture more of an “undone” quality, Woods wanted his latest songs to “get back to the feeling that my early recordings had.” You hear that in the spare, subtle ache of “No Time Soon,” an acoustic monologue Woods describes as “the story of my whole life.”
I am a frightened rabbit
Running off a map
Only loved you out of habit
I ain’t proud of that
But while I do the dishes I hum a little tune
Someday, no time soon
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Henry Jamison’s upcoming third LP The Years was produced by Doug Schadt (Maggie Rogers, Claud) plus long-standing collaborators Thomas Bartlett (Florence & The Machine, Sufjan Stevens) and Harris Paseltiner of Darlingside. Featured vocalist Maisie Peters and composer Nico Muhly (Adele, Bjork) round out the cast on what is Jamison’s most dynamic and diverse collection of songs to date.
Since his 2017 debut The Wilds, which was humbly produced with two friends at a sugarbush/apiary in his native Vermont, Jamison has branched out to become one of the most interesting collaborators of his generation. His 2019 follow up Gloria Duplex explored identity, class and masculinity over baroque textures and performances from Thomas Bartlett, Rob Moose (Phoebe Bridger, Bon Iver, Taylor Swift) and Shazhad Ismaily (Damien Rice, Nils Frahm, Marketa Irglová). In 2020 Jamison released Tourism, a five-song folk collection, featuring JOSEPH, Ed Droste, Fenne Lily, Darlingside and Lady Lamb.
Jamison’s uncanny ability to weave folk lyricism and instruments through a popular veneer has led to over 300M streams and widespread praise, especially from his peers. Adrianne Lenker describes, “Songs that sing me through mazes of my own sensuality and sadness and help me to feel less alone in the journey to understand myself.”
Raised by a classical composer father and an English professor mother, Jamison was drawn to music and lyrics from his earliest days and began recording his own homemade cassette tapes while he was still in elementary school. Going further back in Jamison’s lineage, you’ll find George Frederick Root, the most popular songwriter of the Civil War era and the author of the iconic “Battle Cry Of Freedom.”
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