Playlist: Donovan Woods’ ‘Songs I’m obsessed with’

Donovan Woods (Photo: Joey Senft)

Canadian singer-songwriter Donovan Woods is celebrating the release of “The Other Way,” which strips down his 2018 album “Both Ways” to its acoustic roots.

The Juno Award-winning Woods shared a playlist of “songs I’m obsessed with,” a collection of tunes he can’t get enough of lately. 

Henry Jamison – “Gloria”

I got into his song “Real Peach” and then he put this out. I was sure it referenced a traditional Celtic song that I love so I slid into his DMs to ask him if it was true. He said it was, and I felt good about myself. Here, Henry presents a lovely critical perspective on youthful masculinity. 

Tenille Townes – “Somebody’s Daughter”

This is a country song that feels important and also bops, and they’re playing it on the radio. That ain’t easy to do. It’s Jay Joyce producing and Tenille makes sure you believe every word. She sings a duet on my new record — a real joy for me to have her involved. 

Chance the Rapper – “65th and Ingleside”

This one stopped me dead the first time I heard it. An ode to an intersection from his youth, it’s packed with lovely detail. It feels like a plea for forgiveness, an explanation for some transgression and it crescendos with, “Truth is I just really need your finger size, so I can make sure that they make the ring so tight.” I love every word. 


Daniel Tashian – “There’s a Road”

I heard this in a rental car in a Waffle House parking lot and I cried. There’s some genuine calm assurance in here. I’m not religious, but this song demonstrates how I could end up there. Daniel has had quite a year as he co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ celebrated “Golden Hour.” That gentle melodic sensibility is in his own work as well. It’s a lullaby essentially, a very good one. 

Hardy – “This Ole Boy”

The acoustic guitar sounds so satisfyingly, weirdly clean on this. It’s almost like they plugged a Takamine straight into the board. That satisfaction continues with every single melody in the song. It all just falls out of your mouth and makes you feel cool. This guy writes #1 songs for everyone else. I’m glad he kept this one because nobody else would sing it this well. 

The Weather Station – “Thirty”

This is one of those songs I heard and loved immediately. Four words in, I knew I’d be obsessed with it. The phrasing that Tamara Lindeman created here feels urgent but cool and calm. It feels scattered and exact. It describes her 30th year of life and for me, when the phrasing gets tighter in the back half, it plateaus into ecstasy. 

Daniel Caesar – “Who Hurt You?”

Basically a song about falling for an exotic dancer, but every little melodic choice feels sweet and innocent like real love. “I can tell that she loves me”, but then, “…hope I’m not doing too much.” Daniel’s voice is truly cathartic for me. 

Lori McKenna – “People Get Old”

There are about 15 songs I’d like to include by Lori. I think this one clearly exemplifies her brilliance. Her writing is so clean and plain spoken that the profundity sneaks up on you. She’s that Hemingway quote personified, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” 

Boom Forest – “Prying Eyes”

It’s a song about the dangers of social media, but wait, it’s not dumb. It’s richly produced, pretty and danceable. “Am I easy on your prying eyes?” is the refrain. It never really settles into a form, but they turn that into a strength. It never loses momentum. Great walking song. 

Caroline Spence – “Mint Condition”

A song about the possibility of a truly enduring love with a classic melody, and Emmy Lou Harris harmonizing. What’s your issue? Go and listen to it. 

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