Aoife O' Donovan - In The Magic Hour (B-)

Aoife has become a bit of a treasure in the folk/ bluegrass scene over the last decade. To give the shortest bio one can give, she caught notice in the early 2000s as the vocalist for progressive folk band Crooked Still, who put out five solid full length albums (my two favorites being 2006’s Shaken By A Low Sound and 2010’s Some Strange County) during their reign, 2001-2011. Throughout that time Aoife lent her voice to other projects, working with some of the best names in music, including two tracks on Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan’s masterful The Goat Rodeo Sessions, one of my favorite albums of all time. Now focused on her solo career, she’s been able to hone her skills to create a much more intimate and personal sound. She released EP’s in 2010 and 2012 before delivering her first full length, Fossils, in 2013. Her voice is so soft and smooth it easily attaches itself to your ears. Accompanied by an excellent band, the instrumental subtleties create such a calming atmosphere as she sings you to sleep. I get a very visual experience when I put this album on, one that, for whatever reason, I didn’t get with her first full length. It’s the image of a fall night with a slight chill, sitting by a fire place, relaxing with a drink and feeling the warmth of the music as you sit with someone special. Have I mentioned my future wife Alice Eve since my Top 50 post? I don’t think I have, so let’s say she’s that someone special so I can continue my self preservation. As for Aoife, I think she’s finally found herself on this album. From the temperament, to the flow, to the lyrics, and definitely the instrumentals, everything just clicks. Songs like “Porch Light” and “Jupiter” just take me to another place, and I love it. This is not one to skip.