Ontario-born singer-songwriter Donovan Woods' latest album Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled lands next week, but before it does, Exclaim! is giving you an exclusive advanced listen to the new LP in its entirety.
As previously reported, the new album was made with producer James Bunton and features a few familiar cuts to anyone who's a fan of Top 40 country. The Woods-penned "Leaving Nashville" was also recorded by Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, while album closer "Portland, Maine" was previously made into a radio hit by superstar Tim McGraw.
But despite the high-profile pop-country associations, Woods' record retains a gentle, folksy feel from start to finish. Acoustic strums and earnest vocals are bolstered by bouts of additional instrumentation that add some drama but never distract from the solid foundation of songwriting skill on each track.
From the fast-paced fingerpicking on opener "What Kind of Love Is That?" to the haunting piano on "They Don't Make Anything in That Town" and the thumping percussive sounds on "We Never Met," Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled serves up subtle folk tunes with just the right amount of flourish.
Hear it from start to finish in the player below before it officially arrives on February 26 via Woods' own Meant Well imprint.
02/16 Duncan, BC - Cowichan Performing Arts Centre
02/17 Victoria, BC - University of Victoria Farquhar Auditorium
02/18 Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
02/19 Kelowna, BC - Kelowna Community Theatre
02/20 Banff, AB - The Banff Centre
02/21 Edmonton, AB - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
02/22 Calgary, AB - Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
02/24 Saskatoon, SK - Broadway Theatre
02/25 Regina, SK - University of Regina Darke Hall
02/26 Winnipeg, MB - Burton Cummings Theatre
02/27 Guelph, ON - River Run Centre
02/28 London, ON - Centennial Hall
03/01 Kitchener, ON - Centre In The Square
03/02 St. Catharines, ON - St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre
03/03 Owen Sound, ON - Roxy Theatre
03/04 Burlington, ON - Burlington Performing Arts Centre
03/05 Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
03/06 Orillia, ON - Orillia Opera House
03/08 Port Hope, ON - Cameco Capitol Arts Centre
03/09 Markham, ON - Flato Markham Theatre
03/10 Kingston, ON - Grand Theatre
03/23 Quebec City, QC - Imperial Bell
03/24 Ottawa, ON - National Arts Centre
03/25 Montreal, QC - L'Astral
04/11 Fredericton, NB - The Playhouse
04/12 Fredericton, NB - The Playhouse
04/13 Moncton, NB - Capitol Theatre
04/14 Saint John, NB - Imperial Theatre
04/15 Halifax, NS - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
04/16 Halifax, NS - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium