Aoife O’Donovan Announces New Album ‘Age Of Apathy’


Aoife O’Donovan — the GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter known not only for her own “gorgeous” (Rolling Stone) solo music but her esteemed work with I’m With Her, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, and many more — announces the January 21, 2022 release of her new album Age Of Apathy. Produced by fellow GRAMMY-winner Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Rhiannon Giddens) and featuring guest appearances from Allison Russell and Madison Cunningham, Age Of Apathy finds O’Donovan’s gift for poetic imagery and unconventionally alluring melody in full bloom as she confronts the sense-dulling barrage of the digital age. Amid symphonic arrangements that reveal a stunning mastery of her craft, Aoife puts forth a statement of defiance and radical love — one that reaffirms her as one of our most vital songwriters today.

Lead single “Phoenix” soars, O’Donovan calling upon her resilience despite “quaking like the San Andreas fault.” Open chord strums and dramatic flourishes of percussion convey a sense of possibility as O’Donovan concludes with a cry of “I’m ready now.” “I remember writing “Phoenix” late at night in my sunroom,” says O’Donovan. “It was in early February of this year — a gorgeous Florida winter night — and I came across the first line of the song, all alone, in an old note on my computer. Late 2020 and early 2021 brought a wave of clarity and inspiration after a very difficult period of creative malaise, and “Phoenix” is truly an ode to my own muse.”

Directed by photographer Omar Cruz, the video finds Aoife in a gorgeous desert landscape, embracing the open skies and windswept landscape.

O’Donovan recorded Age Of Apathy through a unique arrangement with Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, logging daily hours on-site at their studio with GRAMMY-nominated engineer Darren Schneider (Deep Purple, Koryn Hawthorne, Trivium) — who also mixed the album — all the while collaborating entirely remotely with Henry. While her previous albums were composed and recorded in an adrenalized rush between tours, the creation of Age Of Apathy was more deliberate and methodical — a rare silver lining amid the stillness of COVID living.

O’Donovan found the routine freeing. Remote collaborations — particularly with bassist David Piltch and drummer Jay Bellerose — introduced unexpected rhythms and textures into the architecture of the songs, allowing O’Donovan to bend her sound into more expansive shapes. And with the expert guidance of Joe Henry, she was able to develop the dreamy, richly orchestrated — but never overwrought — soundworld that gives Age Of Apathy its distinct and enveloping aesthetic.

As tragedy after tragedy threatens to render us numb to the human cost of it all, Age Of Apathy finds O’Donovan endeavoring to carve out a joyous and purposeful existence. On the tense yet beautiful “Elevators,” O’Donovan attempts to augur the future from fragments of her past as strings ratchet up the intensity and Alison Russell’s harmonies lend it all a bluesy lilt. “B61” begins as a patient recounting of days spent wandering Gowanus before an almost panicked urgency sets in, and “Prodigal Daughter,” which also features Russell, examines a young adult’s drift away from and return to the stability of family. Album closer “Passengers” — featuring Madison Cunningham — is all rise, an optimistic and almost celestial moment of clarity. “My apathy is losing ground, open my mouth and make a sound,” O’Donovan sings, finding that righteous struggle and solidarity can provide both ballast and intention as one wards off abject hopelessness.

Pre-order Age Of Apathy here:

Earlier this month, O’Donovan shared an album-length live cover performance of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska for Bandcamp Friday. Says Greil Marcus of Aoife’s interpretation of the title track: “As exposed in a vacuum as Bruce Springsteen was when he made the song, she lets you hear how meticulously his first-person account of Charlie Starkweather’s death rampage was crafted to follow the structure of a traditional murder ballad — or maybe it’s her voice, the way it hovers over the details in the story, that’s rewriting the song that way.”

“The original album was desperate and dark, with doubt coursing through its tracks like murky blood,” says The New York Times. “O’Donovan treats them as canon, saluting Springsteen’s songcraft with clear, pitch-perfect articulation and affable delivery.”

Listen to Aoife O’Donovan’s version of Nebraska here:

Following both solo dates and shows with The Goat Rodeo Sessions this summer, O’Donovan continues to tour through the end of 2021 and into 2022. See full dates below.

September 16 – Planet Bluegrass – Lyons, CO
September 22 – Americanafest Panel – Nashville, TN
September 24 – Fuller Hall – St. Johnsbury, VT %
September 25 – Freshgrass, MASS MoCA – North Adams, MA
October 1 – Freshgrass The Momentary – Bentonville, AR#
Oct 8 – The Listening Room – Grand Rapids, MI (performing with Bull Frogs Croon string quartet)
Oct 9 – Stoughton Opera House – Stoughton, WI (performing with Bull Frogs Croon string quartet)
Oct 19 – Cincinnati Symphony Music Hall – Cincinnati, OH
October 20 – Buskirk-Chumley Theater – Bloomington, IN
October 21 – Old Town School of Folk – Chicago, IL
Oct 23 – St. Louis Symphony Orchestra – St. Louis, MO

Dec 19 – Doral Downtown Park – Doral, FL ^
# duo set with Noam Pikelny
% w/Hawktail
^ duo set with Chris Thile
January 28 – Out To Lunch Festival at Rosemary Street Church – Belfast, UK
January 29 – Liberty Hall – Dublin, IE
January 30 – Live at St. Luke’s – Cork, IE
February 1 – St. Paul’s Church — Birmingham, UK
February 2 — Barbican, Milton Court Concert Hall – London, UK
February 3 – Hallé St. Peter’s – Manchester, UK
February 4 – Sage 2 – Gateshead, UK
February 5 – Junction 2 – Cambridge, UK
February 8 – Tivoli Vredenburg – Utrecht, NL
February 9 – Alice – Copenhagen, DK
February 11 – Haus der Musik 2 – Vienna, AT
February 12 – Orpheum – Graz, AT

Donovan Woods supporting all European shows
February 24 – Odell Williamson Auditorium – Bolivia, NC
February 25 – Kennedy Center Terrace Theater – Washington DC
March 18-25 – Cayamo
April 7 – Freight & Salvage – Berkeley, CA
April 10 – Sunset Center – Carmel, CA
April 15 – Scottsdale Center for the Arts – Scottsdale, AZ ***
May 13 – Bitterroot Performing Art Center – Hamilton, MT