SONG REVIEW: Donovan Woods – ‘Next Year’

We found this track a couple of weeks ago when it was highlighted by Rolling Stone, and we’ve been hooked ever since. It’s been a long time since I’ve personally connected with a set of lyrics quite like I did with these; it was one of those overwhelming, reflective moments that I believe only country music can truly provide. If you’ve maybe lost a loved one recently or know someone who’s been going through a battle, take a moment to listen to ‘Next Year’ by Donovan Woods.

Woods is a Toronto and Nashville-based roots artist who has forged a name for himself in the Nashville song writing circles, having written songs for the likes of Tim McGraw, Billy Currington and Charlie Worsham, amongst others. He has a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell. He also has five solo albums to his name, stretching back to 2009 with ‘The Hold Up’. His latest record ‘Both Ways’ came out in April this year; a wonderful collection of songs with intriguing and poignant narratives.

It’s not often we pick out specific songs from an album to review alone, but ‘Next Year’ is worthy of the exposure. The narrative follows the progression of a person’s life from a young age to adulthood, and how their dreams and aspirations are always being put off for another day as time keeps slipping away. It begins with innocent stories of wanting to go fishing and camping, and the story progresses to Dad coming to the end of his life and wanting “to go see that Grand Canyon”.

As Donovan sings, “there ain’t no next year”. It’s a situation most of us have or will experience in our lives with someone close to us, and ‘Next Year’ tugs on the heartstrings more than anything else I’ve heard for a long, long time. That’s the beauty of country music; those songs that make you stop in your tracks and reflect on life, almost as if they’ve been written just for you. This is one of them.

Don’t ever put things off till ‘next year’. Buy that thing you’ve always wanted, go on that trip you’ve always thought about, try that thing you’ve maybe been afraid to try. Live for today, embrace life, and make the most of every second.

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan