For as long as he can remember, Kyle Donovan's heart has been on his sleeves. It's gotten him into trouble more than once, but it's also given him a window into something beautiful, imperfect, and steadfast: the deep, unwavering conviction that we're more alike than different. Donovan has been honoring that truth, uncovering universal stories through songwriting, crafting tales of everyday life and infusing them with a type of mystery, emotion, and tenderness that is often felt and seldom understood.
With a style that hearkens back to a bygone era, this Colorado troubadour's pure, soaring tenor and fingerstyle guitar work have drawn critical acclaim from across the nation -- and brought him to stages at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival. His self-produced, debut solo album, titled Then and Now, was released on August 30, 2019. The album brings the human experience into full focus, with the passage of time, coming of age, and losing or reuniting with loved ones appearing as common themes.
Never one to shy away from tough questions, Donovan embraced his quest for meaning first through studying philosophy at the University of Colorado, and now continues that path through songwriting, playing, and embracing his local community. As a sound engineer, Donovan records and produces local bands including Longmont's legendary Clandestine Amgio, with whom he also plays electric guitar. He has further pulled friends and peers closer into his orbit by launching a live-performance interview-style podcast called The Songwriter Hour. This monthly event brings independent musicians and attentive listeners into an intimate space with a palpable weight and energy -- where vulnerability shines through to illuminate the darkest corners of each song.
"I want to create experiences that I can be proud of - the kind where I would enjoy being on either side of the microphone," says Donovan. "The pin-drop silence of a packed room creates the perfect atmosphere to explore the space where songs are written, when the intention and attention of fifty people are so tightly aligned. All listening, all hearing, all feeling together. That's where I want to spend my time."
Kyle Donovan is a rare and beautiful talent... with a voice that lifts, he sings notes that feel like fire flies on a moist summer evening alongside a deep and slow moving river... this isn’t mundane... it’s invigorating. Few voices are as pure and unwavering in tone and pitch, or as sweet and sensitive in emotion. Kyle’s quietly expressive stories of life are reminiscent of the best storytellers... none less than Paul Simon, Kyle’s strongest and most obvious muse.
Chris Kresge - The Colorado Playlist
Over two hundred friends and fans came together to make the creation of Then and Now possible. Donovan worked tirelessly with a team of audio experts, musicians, and creatives to custom-craft each aspect of the album's production.
Collaborators and guest artists include Bonnie & Taylor Sims, James Tuttle, Daniel Herman, Pete Damore, Monica Marie, Jason Bertone, Michelle Pietrafitta, Kate Farmer, Antonio Lopez, Leor Manelis, Colin Robison, and Bret Batterman.
Artwork featured on the album cover and insert is shown here, drawn by Boulder-based illustrator Nikki Nichols.
Kyle's other projects: