The Backstage Sessions at Signature Sounds: Chris Frayer with Donovan Woods

Photo By Lynne Graves
Entertainment + Music

Signature Sounds Presents The Backstage Sessions at Signature Sounds: Chris Frayer with Donovan Woods Artistic Director of Winnipeg Folk Chris Frayer with Brilliant Singer-Songwriter Donovan Woods Sunday, February 28th at 8pm, ET One of the luckiest things about working in music is the unforgettable life of backstage conversation. The off-handed chat of musicians and old friends, crossing paths out on the road, of radio personalities interviewing stars, of promoters chatting with players in green rooms, well into the small hours. This winter, on all the cold and locked-down Sunday nights, we’re bringing you behind the scenes for a new online series called the Backstage Sessions. We asked some of our favorite industry friends—dj's, music writers, podcast hosts, festival promoters, even musicians and dancers themselves—to choose an artist they'd love to talk to. Each Sunday is a different pairing, with conversation and unexpected music.The series is online at It’s by donation. So if you’re broke, come for free. Rolling in it? Throw in a $20 or more. The majority of the income goes to the interviewer and artist, or to a cause of their choice. The rest goes to keeping the Sig Sounds crew working till we can reopen our doors. The Backstage Sessions will run from January 2021-April 2021. Stream it here: To Tip: Venmo: signaturesounds PayPal: CHRIS FRAYER Chris Frayer has been the Artistic Director for the West End Cultural Centre , Jazz Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Folk Festival for the last 16 years. In this role he is responsible for programming the summer festival in July and oversees the year round concert series that takes place in several independent venues throughout Winnipeg. He’s a frequent delegate at conferences such as SXSW, Folk Alliance International, Americana and Womex. When he's not conferencing he spends his time being a festival brat at music festivals throughout N. America such as Osheaga, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Desert Daze and Bonnaroo. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife, two sons and dog. DONOVAN WOODS Late at night, as the world felt upside down in quarantine, Donovan Woods got to work on his latest album, Without People . In a makeshift recording studio at his Toronto home, the acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter tracked his vocals and guitar alone and then emailed files to producer James Bunton. Backing musicians sketched out their own parts in isolation from their respective homes. This is not how Woods, winner of the 2019 Juno Award (for contemporary roots album) and whose songs have been recorded by the likes of Tim McGraw (“Portland, Maine”) and Lady A’s Charles Kelley (“Leaving Nashville”), prefers to create music. “So much of what I like about making records is the spontaneity of making music in a room together, and we missed that,” Woods says. And yet for an album made so piecemeal, Without People (out November 6 on Woods’ Meant Well label) is alive with intimacy and connection at a surreal time when we’re all in desperate need of both. True to his reputation as in-demand songwriter at home in both folk and country music, Woods enlisted a who’s who of fellow songwriters: Ashley Monroe, Jessie Jo Dillion, Dustin Christensen, and Ed Robertson (of the Barenaked Ladies), among others. On these 14 new songs, with Todd Clark handling vocal production, Woods mines small moments to find greater truths. He writes about the first blush of budding love and how it makes us feel brand new (“Clean Slate”), the fraught relationships men often have with their fathers (“Man Made Lake”), the sad reality that sometimes romances are snuffed out simply because they don’t burn bright enough (“Grew Apart”); and the peril of wanting to be alone (“Lonely People,” a duet with rising British singer Rhys Lewis). He’s the first to admit that exploring the minutiae of interpersonal dynamics might feel at odds with a world engulfed by the COVID-19 pandemic and an overdue reckoning with racial injustice and environmental destruction. “Anything but protest music feels out of place right now,” Woods says. (To that end, he has vowed to use his new album to spotlight and support Black- and Indigenous-owned businesses.) “I dove in deeper on this album than I ever have,” Woods says. “So if we are coming to the end of something, I can say that I tried my hardest to write truthfully about the people I’ve loved and the things I did wrong, and add my little verse to the story of what it feels like to be a person.” The Backstage Sessions will run from January 2021-April 2021