Alan Doyle chalks up a lot of where is he right now—with both his third solo album and his second book released in October 2017—to luck. “I’m the luckiest guy I’ve ever even heard of,” he says. “This was all I ever wanted, a life in the music business, singing concerts. I was lucky to be born in the family I was, in Petty Harbour. I was lucky that Sean, Bob and Darrell found me and asked me to join their band. I was lucky the Canadian music fans were into it.”
And yet, one listen to A Week at The Warehouse makes it plainly clear that there’s a lot more than luck at play in this decades long, awards-studded career. This album, recorded live off the floor with Doyle’s “beautiful band,” as he calls them, with producer Bob Rock at the helm, is chock-a-block with country-tinged, radio ready tunes that bring with them the flavour of some of Doyle’s favourite artists, from John Mellencamp to Rock’s own band, Payolas (In fact, Doyle covers a Payolas tune on this album, Forever Light Will Shine, with that band’s singer, Paul Hyde appearing as a guest vocalist.)
In addition to Rock’s work with Payolas, Doyle loved the metal albums Rock produced in the eighties, and his more recent work with the Tragically Hip, Jann Arden, and others. “It’s a real treat to get to meet your heroes and they turn out to be nicer than you ever imagined,” Doyle says. “A couple things about Bob, he’s first of all, still a massive fan of a good song, for a man who’s seen hundreds and thousands of them, he’s still thrilled to get a chance to work on a good song with a good band in a good studio, that’s still a perfect day for him. And secondly he’s just a wonderful motivator to get great players to play at their best.”
That kind of ease and experience—plus the incredible talents of Doyle’s touring band—made recording A Week at The Warehouse a relative breeze. Of the band, Doyle says, “I am so by far the worst person. I wish I was being modest. They’re an incredible band to sing with every night. I look around the stage and I can’t believe my luck.”
With more than 14.5 million streams on Spotify, songwriter Donovan Woods compositions have been lauded as “a very simple beauty” (Entertainment Weekly), “a stark, stunning ballad” (Rolling Stone), and “an emotional wallop” (Billboard Magazine). In his latest single, “All Mine,” Woods discovers the elusive silver lining – that beautiful moment when you realize you’ve broken free of someone else’s expectations.
However, the optimistic single represents more than a new perspective for the musician. “All Mine” breaks the familiar acoustic guitar with a layered production, yet it’s unmistakably a Donovan Woods song – eloquent, disarmingly honest, and rich in details.
Even when his singing voice gently rises just above a whisper, it cannot be ignored. His single “What Kind of Love Is That?” climbed to No. 1 on the CBC Top 20 Chart and the album Hard Settle, Ain’t Trouble received a Polaris Prize nomination as well as a JUNO Award nod for Songwriter of the Year. He followed that project with an exceptional four-song EP, They Are Going Away.
“‘All Mine’ is about the feeling of suddenly emerging from something that’s been weighing you down,” Woods says. “Sometimes it’s that first day of good health after an illness, sometimes it’s after a breakup, sometimes it’s just the first day of spring. I think one of the only purely good human feelings is relief – when something difficult ends or when something bad could have happened but didn’t. That feeling is what I’m trying to capture here, that moment of realization that time is on your side again. You dodged a bullet and for a moment you feel free, clear-eyed, and ready to turn that passing hardship into something beautiful.”