Aoife O’Donovan’s sophomore album, “In the Magic Hour” — produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Neko Case) — is a 10-song album full of the singer’s honeyed vocals, mixed with gauzy, frictionless sounds: splashing cymbals, airy harmonies, and the leisurely baritone musings of an electric guitar. The New York Times writes: “Sweetness and sadness find a tenuous balance in the voice of Aoife O’Donovan — and in the songs on her second album…[it] evokes the reverberant chamber pop observations of Grizzly Bear… the lush austerity of Alison Krauss.”
Previously, she's wielded her instrument with tensile strength as the captivating lead singer through a myriad of collaborations: on the Grammy-winning album by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” for a decade in the progressive string band Crooked Still and most recently as 1/3 of I’m With Her, a trio with singers Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. Aoife has also made regular appearances as a featured vocalist on A Prairie Home Companion and collaborated with some of the most eminent names in music, across a wide variety of genres from Alison Krauss to Dave Douglas.
JULIAN LAGE & CHRIS ELDRIDGE
Julian Lage has, since childhood, been highly regarded in jazz and new music circles for his own work as well as for his collaborations with such artists as Gary Burton, Nels Cline, Fred Hersch, and Jim Hall, among many others. Chris Eldridge is equally noted in the progressive bluegrass world for his stints with The Seldom Scene and The Infamous Stringdusters, which led to his joining Chris Thile's adventurous, Grammy-nominated quintet, Punch Brothers.
Lage & Eldridge’s duo collaboration didn't take off in earnest until they self-released a four-song EP, "Close To Picture," in 2013. They were venturing into uncharted territory, beyond genre, reaching for a language of their own through the on-the-spot interplay of their guitars. Says Eldridge: "The whole point was to explore sounds and textures that are uniquely possible on a flat-top steel-string guitar. There hasn't been a lot of exploration of what they're uniquely capable of, their particular rich tonal palate, what they have to offer to the world that other instruments don't.”
"Avalon," the first full-length album from guitarists Julian Lage &Chris "Critter" Eldridge is a vivid snapshot of this duo's repertoire, circa 2014; a portrait of a burgeoning friendship between two virtuosic players; and, at its heart, a pristinely recorded love letter to the sound of the acoustic guitar.
A night of intrepid songwriting and acoustic innovation, beginning with Aoife O’Donovan at center stage. O’Donovan draws from her catalogue of songs, played as she wrote them; with just her acoustic guitar and voice. The Washington Post describes her singing as “almost too gorgeous for its own good.” Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge follow with their masterly acoustic performance typical of the virtuosic duo, known for pushing the envelope of folk, bluegrass, and jazz. Showcasing, as The New Yorker writes, a “familiarity with the fretboard...so extravagant and capacious that they bring flourishes to this music that it simply hasn’t enjoyed before,” their performance is sure to astound. The evening concludes with all three on stage together in an aural-hootenanny.