About the Event
Grammy®-winning artist Aoife O’Donovan operates in a thrilling musical world beyond genre. Deemed “a vocalist of unerring instinct” by The New York Times, she has released three critically-acclaimed and boundary-blurring solo albums including In the Magic Hour, which Rolling Stone hailed for its “Impressionistic, atmospheric songs [that] relay their narratives against gorgeous pastoral backdrops.”
A savvy and generous collaborator, O’Donovan is one third of the group I’m With Her with bandmates Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. The trio’s debut album, See You Around, was hailed as “willfully open-hearted” by NPR Music and earned the group a Grammy® in 2020 for Best American Roots Song. O’Donovan spent the preceding decade as cofounder and frontwoman of the string band Crooked Still and is the featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile.
O’Donovan spent the winter and spring of 2021 in the studio with acclaimed producer Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Rhiannon Giddens) recording her third full-length solo album titled Age of Apathy, just released in January 2022. This show will feature O’Donovan and her band playing selections from this new album.
Of the new album, Pitchfork writes: “On Age of Apathy, she taps into the propulsion of prime Joni Mitchell: a restless mind bouncing against the blur of one’s surroundings. She has that same actor’s sense—when to go big, when to bring it backwards.”
PopMatters also reviewed Age of Apathy, writing: “The final results are lushly layered and sophisticated. O’Donovan is often considered a singer-songwriter and folkie, but this release finds her music hard to pigeonhole as its connections to contemporary jazz and even classical music are clearly evident.”
Raised in Vancouver, Canada, Taylor Ashton now lives in Brooklyn, and recently released his first solo album, The Romantic—an ode to the devastating, ecstatic, gritty, sexy decade of his 20s, woven together through his five-string banjo with the help of 18 different musicians from the Brooklyn music scene and all across the United States and Canada.
Ashton’s career began in Vancouver as frontman and songwriter for Fish & Bird. The Vancouver Folk Fest called the group “Canada’s most unique folk-rock ensemble,” with reviewers taking note of Ashton’s “off-kilter lyrical excursions” (The Georgia Straight) and his “rich, compelling voice” (Exclaim!). From 2006 to 2014, Fish & Bird recorded four albums and exhaustively made the rounds of the festival and touring circuit of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The 12 new songs on Ashton’s solo debut chronicle leaving a relationship, a band, and Canada. He moved from Toronto to New York City, ready to take a break from the heavy touring schedule of Fish & Bird and to find himself in a new setting. He survived by singing and playing clawhammer banjo in the subway, turning heads with covers that leaned more Motown than hoedown. Over the years he also made a living as an illustrator, an audio book narrator, a songwriting teacher, and an occasional sideman for British country-soul singer Yola. He was even hired by The New York Times to write a song about the debt-ridden subway system. Fueled by $1 pizza slices and the intoxicating creative energy of his new hometown, he wrote more than 400 songs. “A lot of them were pretty dumb,” he said. “But some that I thought were dumb turned out to be good.”
While making The Romantic, Ashton also teamed up with fellow songwriter Courtney Hartman to record a spare duo album, 2018’s Been On Your Side, which was nominated for an Independent Music Award and earned praise in Rolling Stone, saying it “packs a punch in today’s mainstream.”