Magical and Mystical

Read our review of In The Magical Hour by Aoife O’Donovan

Aoife O’Donovan Releases

In The Magic Hour

22 January 2016

Yep Roc Records

aoife o'donovan in the magic hourAoife* O’Donovan is Boston-raised and with Irish heritage.  Her second album In The Magic Hour will be out January 22 2016 on Yep Roc Records.

O’Donovan has been lead singer of the progressive string band Crooked Still, was a featured vocalist on “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” the Grammy-winning album by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile and most recently has lent her voice to the folk trio I’m With Her with singers Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz.



I’m With Her – left to right Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan – photo Jim Jacob


The new releasethe follow-up to her 2013 solo debut Fossils, was produced by Tucker Martine (Neko Case, The Decemberists), and features ten songs, nine of which were written by ODonovan (one a co-write with Jarosz) and a traditional tune.  There are contributions from an impressive group of collaborators and friends: I’m With Her band mates Watkins and Jarosz, Thile (Punch Brothers), Nate Query (The Decemberists) and string section Brooklyn Rider.

O’Donovan has a rich and honeyed voice and In The Magic Hour provides ample evidence of her singing talents.  The songs have a mystical and floating feel to them, part complex-textured Joni Mitchell, part muse-streaming Van Morrison as well as her own light and airy harmonies.


aoife o'donovan


During the development of the album, O’Donovan’s grandfather and family patriarch died aged 93, an event which has substantially influenced the content here.  O’Donovan spent many childhood summers in the small Irish town of Clonakilty where he lived.  In fact, the album artwork for In The Magic Hour features a photograph of a seven-year-old Aoife on one such trip, you can hear her grandfather’s singing on the traditional Irish song “Donal Óg” and “Magpie” was written for him.

“There are flocks, but you often see just one solo bird,” O’Donovan says. “And I really like that they’re these creatures that have the whole sky at their disposal. You can be a loner, or you can be at the front of the V.”

The lyrics reflect mortality for sure but there are also visions of joyful childhood memories.  Interpreting the words and embracing the fleeting and ethereal arrangements took me some time, as there are not a lot of catchy melodies and hooks that leap out from the stereo.  It is indeed a personal and mature statement.

Here is the official clip for “Magic Hour”


In The Magic Hour is my first new release for 2016 and it is a delightful way to welcome the new music year.

In The Magic Hour – Track Listing

  1. Stanley Park
  2. Magic Hour
  3. Porch Light
  4. Hornets
  5. Magpie
  6. Donal Óg
  7. The King of All Birds
  8. Not the Leaving
  9. Detour Sign
  10. Jupiter


*(pronounced EE-fah)

Via Redeye Distribution


Read our review of In The Magical Hour by Aoife O’Donovan

Read our review of In The Magical Hour by Aoife O’Donovan





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Author: Rob Dickens

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