Date(s) - 02/21/2016
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
In the quiet moments found between touring her first solo album and collaborating with mainstay folk and bluegrass peers, Aoife O’Donovan found the inspiration to write her sophomore album “In the Magic Hour” — out Jan. 22, 2016 on Yep Roc Records.
“Flying, getting the rental car, eating all my meals alone…” O’Donovan says. “I just remember sitting with a book in Germany two winters ago, just feeling so happy that after the show I could have a Hefeweizen and read and not talk to anybody. And I think that gave me more time to edit my lyrics and really be more mindful with them.”
The songwriting process for “In the Magic Hour” coincided with the death of O’Donovan’s grandfather, at age 93. She remembers him as a “gentle soul,” in the small Irish village of Clonakilty where he lived. The lyrics on “In the Magic Hour” are infused with a sense of loss and mortality’s dark certainty. But the album is just as much an ode to O’Donovan’s joyful childhood visits to Ireland. Aunts, uncles, grandparents and flocks of cousins would gather at the Clonakilty seaside to swim in the chilly ocean and sing together in the lingering Irish summer twilight. “In my memory it was sunny every day,” O’Donovan says. “Although that definitely cannot be true.”
Throughout “In the Magic Hour,” O’Donovan’s grandfather flits in and out like a beloved specter. His voice appears in the mournful “Donal Óg,” tremulous and faraway. And the transcendent “Magpie,” named for Ireland’s ubiquitous birds, 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.”
Flight and loneliness are enduring themes throughout “In the Magic Hour,” which takes much of its inspiration from O’Donovan’s itinerant lifestyle. But she finds herself reaching, again and again, for something more substantial. The songs on “In the Magic Hour” are like specks of dust floating in the tall arches of a cathedral, privy to the endless rituals of life and death and stirred occasionally by the flutter of pigeon wings. Graceful and light, they search, softly, for a place to rest.