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Music Monday January 6th Donovan Woods & Why I’m a Jerk

Alright readers, I got a bit of a bone to pick with you today: Ya’ll need to calm down. My social media stream is the most boring thing ever; it seems everyone and their mother have discovered that they live in Canada and it gets cold. Todays weather forecast: Heavy snow and 100% chance of everyone whining like a b*itch and forgetting to drive cautiously. Seriously, the grocery store today looks like there was a bulletin this morning announcing the apocalypse. Calm down.

The truth is that while I’m not really a winter girl, this weather gives me an excuse to do what I really want to do anyways: Complain about things, make elaborate/weird soups, read books and binge watch british tv on netflix. This recent dump of snow that has rendered my little car purely decorative on my street got me thinking about the first big snowfall of this year. It was towards the end of November and I had plans to go review the Dan Griffin show at the eBar here in Guelph. I looked outside and thought really hard about cancelling and staying inside with a blanket and maybe a little Stevie Nicks. I didn’t though, not because I was dying to go (I’d seen Griffin play before) but because every person in my life knows I’m from Kirkland Lake and therefore assumes I am of hardy, northern stock, (guys, please stop thinking this. I didn’t live there on purpose and I have bird bones; I only like skidooing when there’s heated handgrips) so I had to go to keep up my reputation.

I had done a little preemptive googling and was also excited to see the opener, someone I had never seen before, a Toronto musician named Donovan Woods. I spoke with him briefly when I got there and was expecting a nice run-of-the-mill ‘dude with his guitar’ set, nothing too groundbreaking. Well, as my boyfriend will be happy to sometimes tell you, I am (very, very rarely) wrong. He played an outstanding set, and peppered it with pretty amusing anecdotes about each song. By the time he got to the second song, I caught myself thinking ‘What a surprisingly charming dude’ and instantly hated myself.

What a jerk thing to think. Why would it be surprising? Because this guy looks like everyone I grew up with I don’t think he’s got anything intelligent to say? Should he should get off the stage and go cut down a tree for me like a good little lumberjack? Is it because he’s not trotting around and dressing up like he’s a show pony for me? It was as if for two seconds I thought that burly Canadian dudes wearing plaid couldn’t possibly be introspective and witty, like they only have opinions about beer and hockey and acceptable sideburn length. Ugh, I hate even admitting these jackass thoughts, but I’m only telling you about them because I think I’m becoming so saturated with performance and everyone saying ‘LOOK AT ME ON THE INTERNET, I AM SPECIAL AND CLEVER’.

Maybe we’re all getting a bit like this, you know? There’s so much ego out there in the musical world that sometimes it’s hard to notice someone just being genuine and relatable cause there’s so much garbage in the way. It’s so easy to get taken in entirely by looks and appearance, but we all know that when it comes down to a song that hits you in the right spot, it’s never about how they look or what silver platter they serve it to you on. Even I’m guilty of this, when I profiled Foy Vance I touched on a lot of these subjects, on the presenting of a song being more important than the song itself. So today I’ll be sharing my favorite no-frills songs of his for you to hibernate with. The first is his single ‘Put on Cologne’ and it’s just infectious. During the show, a friend said to me ‘what’s he saying in the chorus there?’ and I yelled ‘I don’t care!’ cause the alliteration of the words just sounded so good. The second is ‘Won’t come back’ and it’s a little darker, but so damn perfect and honest. I love when an artist says something so transparent, plainly honest things we’re not ‘supposed’ to say like ‘I deserved you more’. The third is ‘Let go Lightly’. We all know I’m a huge sucker for the harmonica and this song incorporates it in spades. Other honorable mentions I recommend if you like what you hear: My cousin has a grey cup ring, Petrolia and Sask.

So hit play, check this guy out and join me in extending a big thank you to Mr. Woods for keeping us company in our little forts today. Thanks for the music and for startling me on a snowy night almost two months ago. I love being surprised by a musician, I love being taken aback by someones candid use of language, and most importantly, I love being reminded when I am a being a huge jerk. 

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