Aoife O’Donovan looking forward to her first Utah solo performance
January 13, 2015
Singer and guitarist Aoife O’Donovan, known for her playing in the band Crooked Still, has collaborated and toured with Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma and worked with three other Grammy winners, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan and Edgar Meyer, in a project called The Goat Rodeo.
She has appeared in Utah with Garrison Keillor’s "Prairie Home Companion" and banjoist Noam Pikelny.
On Saturday, Jan. 17, the singer, whose first name is pronounced EE-fuh, will perform her first solo Utah show at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
"I’m really excited for the Park City show," O’Donovan said during a telephone interview from a stop in Florida. "That weekend I’m doing a show in Raleigh and one in Park City and am doing it with a bassist and drummer, which is a fun little trio that we’ve only done one other time on tour, in Denmark over the summer. We played at a huge festival and that was one of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life."
The drummer is Robyn MacMillan and the bassist is Jacob Silver, who both hail form Carmel, California.
"They have been playing together since they were five years old and I’ve known them for 15 years," O’Donovan said. "People who have seen me play over the past couple of years have seen Jacob. He’s like my right-hand guy." The two musicians were included in the sessions for O’Donovan’s first solo album, 2013’s "Fossils."
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"They are two of my oldest friends," she said. "I think it will be a very energetic show and have some elements of rock and folk. So it will be really fun."
O’Donovan was introduced to music by her parents.
"I grew up in a musical family," she said. "My mom is a great pianist and singer. My dad plays guitar and has a radio show in Boston. So I became a real lover of music back in the day."
The music included all styles, especially traditional Irish folk music.
"I went the natural progression and started playing piano when I was a kid and I pretty much have sang since I could talk," O’Donovan said. "I did some extracurriculars in high school, but music was at the forefront and I ended up going to college to study music and I’m lucky to do this full time."
Still, being a professional musician does have its down sides.
"It’s just like any other job," O’Donovan said. "When you do the same thing over and over again, it becomes mundane, but this thing is that it’s become my life and I really love it."
So far, her biggest career highlights have included her work with Yo-Yo Ma and The Goat Rodeo
"I don’t want to say those were once in a lifetime, because I want to play with them again," O’Donovan said. "But I was really humbled by that whole experience."
Other highlights include making music with her friends.
"That includes the past 10 to 12 wonderful years with the my band Crooked Still," she said. "All of these collaborative energies have been the highlights of these projects."
O’Donovan is currently working on her second solo album.
"It will be out, hopefully, in another 12 months," she said.
She also has two other projects coming down the pipeline.
"I’m going to Cincinnati to play with the Cincinnati Pops and then I’m going to Scotland to debut a new trio with Sara Watkins and Sarah Jeroz," she said. "We’re going to tour that project this year and do a couple of select dates."
O’Donovan is grateful for the different opportunities that have come her way.
"I don’t think I had a clear thought about what the possibilities would be for me when I started studying music, but I was raised to work hard, be positive and believe in what you’re doing," she said. "I think that’s my life’s philosophy and that’s a pretty cool thing.
"Sure, people always ask if it’s exhausting being out on the road and never being home or sleeping in a hotel room," O’Donovan said "Yes, there will always be one more day getting in the van or one more stop at Starbucks. But then we get so excited to stop at Chipotle, because it’s literally the best food on the road."
That’s one of the funny example of the things O’Donovan looks forward to while on tour.
"There’s also the people that you meet and the connections you make," she said. "The payoff is the sheer joy you feel just getting up on stage and playing songs and having people listen. That’s pretty special."
The songs O’Donovan will perform in Park City haven’t been selected, yet.
"I love when Robyn is on the show because he’s a great set maker," she said. "The three of us will sit down and come up with the right set that has a good mix of songs, and I’m still loving the tunes from ‘Fossils.’"
The Park City Institute will present Aoife O’Donovan at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $69 and can be purchased by calling 435-655-3114 or by visiting http://www.ecclescenter.org .