The duality of Donovan Woods

The Toronto folk singer (and champion tweeter) brings his latest,Both Ways, for Halifax to interpret.

Danielle holbert

Donovan Woods and the Opposition w/Raye Zaragoza
Saturday, November 17, 2pm and 8pm (sold out)
St. Matthew’s Church, 1479 Barrington Street
$30 adv/$35 doors

Earlier this month, Toronto singer-songwriter Donovan Woods tweeted the question “In your opinion, is 3pm more like 2pm or more like 4pm?” A simple question, it got ratioed with a bunch of replies and fun debate.

“That's an interesting discussion, I’ll tell you right now, because 3am feels way more like 4am. But 3pm maybe feels more like 2pm,” says Woods. “Anyway, it's just an interesting distinction. I could get into talking like that all the time.”

Unintentionally, the tweet taps into the theme of contrasting dualities that’s central to his album Both Ways, released in April. Even asking the genre of his music could go one of two ways. In America, you’ll find news on him in the country section of Rolling Stone, after he spent time in Nashville writing for a bevy of stars including Tim McGraw. The beard, toque and plaid shirt combo on the Both Ways cover place him in the familiar folk artist category in Canada.

His music means different things depending on who you ask, including Rose Cousins, who sings a duet with Woods on “I Ain’t Ever Loved No One.” “I thought it was a sad song,” he says. “I thought it was looking back on a good thing, and Rose thought it was about discovering a good thing.

“It’s capacious, you know, there's a lot of emotional real estate here and that's good. So many people talk to me after the show about that song, feeling really hopeful and like it’s giving them a shot in the arm of hope, like the love they have sought is possible for them. I never viewed it that way.”

It’s a testament to the strength of the talented wordsmith and musician. Whether a well-composed humorous tweet or a complicated ballad about love, Woods creates a space for discussion and contemplation.

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