Released on December 6, “While All the While,” co-written with ace singer-songwriter Lori McKenna, is essentially Donovan Woods’ songwriting in miniature, a portrait of quotidian life that swells into a poignant meditation on how we sit with and reconcile our conflicted feelings.
“Therapy helped guide me into the idea that it’s OK to be sad. I can be sad and still make jokes and laugh. I can be sad and sing. I can be sad while still being grateful and happy that people come see my shows and care about the songs I make,” Woods says.
“I brought this idea to Lori, and we tried to write a song about just that. Getting up and going on with life,” he adds. “A little celebration of the things we do while all the while a little sadness is still there with us.”
Perhaps without even knowing it, Woods has explored that feeling with quiet grace throughout his celebrated career, starting with his 2009 debut, The Hold Up. A decade later, he has become an in-demand songwriter whose work has been recorded by Tim McGraw (“Portland, Maine”), Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley (“Leaving Nashville”) and Billy Currington (“Sweet Love”), with over 200 million streams.