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Aoife O'DonovanAoife O'Donovan
Album: In The Magic Hour
Label: Yep Rock
Tracks: 10

If you haven't previously heard her name, you may have come across her in one of her other ventures. part of bluegrass band Crooked Still, for a long time, she has most recently been involved in a collaboration with Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins, known as I'm With Her.

In The Magic Hour is Aoife's second release, the follow up to 2013's debut, Fossils. The time period during which Aoife O'Donovan was writing songs for this new release, coincided with the death of her grandmother, aged 93. Needless to say this loss is evident throughout the CD, although it doesn't become the overbearing theme, which it very easily could have. Time is also dedicated to exploring her Irish roots and heritage.

With this release. Aoife leaves the listener in no doubt as to the depth of her songwriting and musically her solo efforts veer not towards one genre, but rather a meeting of several; bluegrass, folk and Americana all meet with a touch of rock. There is certainly more electric guitar and drum presence, but it works with the songs and remains cohesive. As such, this album has a more edgy feel than Fossils. Among her band are the excellent Chris Thile and Sarah Jarosz.

Much as I enjoyed the album, the one song I keep coming back to for more, is The King Of All Birds. Really quite stunning, but I shall let you choose your own favourite! Suffice to say, O'Donovan appears to have left her comfort zone behind her, pushed her limits and produced something really quite special as a result. I look forward to seeing what follows.

Helen Mitchell