Aoife O’Donovan at the Slaughtered Lamb
Aoife O’Donovan may not be an immediately familiar name, but any big-time fan of folk or bluegrass should recognise the Massachusetts singer as the frontwoman of American bluegrass sextet Crooked Still and member of three-piece folk group Sometymes Why. O’Donovan’s impeccable skill for songwriting has attracted the likes of Sony Pictures, HBO and ABC, her songs incorporated into shows such as True Blood and Private Practice. In the summer of this year, O’Donovan released single Red & White & Blue & Gold and later, her debut album Fossils. She is used to performing live with her band, but tonight’s concert at the Slaughtered Lamb is her debut solo show – and it’s completely sold out!
A crowd of mainly middle-aged folk fans wait in the bar for the doors to open. We are greeted by O’Donovan and her guitar, an unusual sight for most who are so used to seeing her as part of a band, but one the audience are happy to see as they cheer, whoop and raise their glasses.
In traditional folk style, songs from O’Donovan’s new album introduce characters the listener can get involved with. Briar Rose gives a haunting twist to the fable Snow White, imagining her as a sexual abuse survivor. Lay My Burden Down is a familiar track previously covered by Alison Krauss, which displays the Boston singer’s tender but powerful voice, allowing her to achieve impressive range. The audience respond well to the folky story-telling nature of O’Donovan’s new material, clearly moved by the power of her phenomenal, emotive voice.
O’Donovan’s latest single Red & White & Blue & Gold is a beautiful country-pop track that has the crowd swaying and smiling. Influenced by folk and bluegrass, this song is somewhat closer to alternative country-rock than folk, her vocal performance almost comparable to that of KT Tunstall, yet softer and sweeter.
O’Donovan returns for an encore with her beautiful rendition of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, which takes everyone by pleasant surprise. The crowd are blown away by her exquisite vocals, many humming along. She possesses a remarkable talent; any fan of alternative folk, bluegrass and even country should not miss the opportunity to hear her live.
Photos: Adam Bennett
For further information and future events visit Aoife O’Donovan’s website here.
Watch the video for Red & White & Blue & Gold here: