Fresh off supporting The Gaslight Anthem throughout middle America, Donovan Woods today releases his first single of 2023, “I’m Around.” Woods’ deep curiosity about the human condition is why we so clearly hear our own stories in his. The details differ, the characters change, but at their core, Donovan Woods songs are for and about everyone.
Serving a preview of new music to come, Woods continues with the luminous production touches that has defined his recent work. “I’m Around” is deeply personal, and universally relatable. At its surface, it is about a breakup, but with Woods’ layered songwriting, there’s so much more to it.
“It’s about how we sometimes don’t stop loving even when we’re not in love anymore,” he explains. “I wanted it to be practical and unsentimental, without subtext. (I am useful, if you need me. I don’t want to but I will.)”
Co-written with David Hodges, Woods recorded “I’m Around” with Mike Sonier in Los Angeles earlier this year. “It’s a song encompassing nearly everything I’m trying to do with songwriting,” Woods says. “Explaining what the day feels like while giving latent sadness and regret an elegant push out of my mind, into the air.”
Woods’ featured vocals on Dabin & Nurko’s “When This Is Over” veered into anthemic dance pop, and yet he still sounded right at home. On “IOWA,” Woods found a kindred spirit in Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan for a pastoral meditation on dreaming of a place you know doesn’t exist.
Each of these collaborations has highlighted a budding truth about Woods: As respected as he is as a solo artist, he’s evolving and upending our expectations of how his music sounds. His songs have grown more dimensional, emboldened by new sonic landscapes, reminding us that classic songwriting transcends genre.