Aoife O’Donovan announces new album “All My Friends”

Credit: Sasha Israel

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan has announced her upcoming solo album “All My Friends”, set for release on March 22 via Yep Roc. The 9-song collection – O’Donovan’s first self-produced LP – is inspired by the passage of the 19th amendment and the evolving landscape of women’s rights in America over the past century. O’Donovan draws on speeches and letters by suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt to write intricately filigreed new, original songs infused with modern perspective and her own experiences as a woman and mother. As the press release attests: “Amidst a lush, genre-blurring soundscape featuring brass, orchestra, girls’ choir, and O’Donovan’s own “stunning” (Rolling Stone) voice, All My Friends wrestles with questions of what has – and hasn’t – changed for American women in the 100 years since gaining the right to vote.”

With today’s announcement – which coincides with what would be Chapman Catt’s 165th birthday –  O’Donovan has unveiled the album title track ‘All My Friends’ which you can watch the powerful lyric video for below, created by filmmakers Steph Jenkins and Brian Lee using found footage. Featuring The Westerlies, The Knights, and San Francisco Girls Chorus, the song memorializes the Tennessee summer of 1920, when voices for and against suffragism battled bitterly over the final state signatory needed to ratify the amendment.

“The seeds of this song predate the entire project as a whole,” says O’Donovan of the lead single. “This song is about camaraderie, companionship, people united in common struggle against oppression. I imagine the women literally marching in Tennessee as the dawn lifted over the fields. I imagine the struggle of needing just one more state to ratify, and just how much weight that final vote held. I imagine the collective longing for the country of our birth to open her arms. The opening, featuring my voice in harmony with The Westerlies, sets the tone for the record. Slowly, the strings enter, enveloping the chorale in rich tones, and then when the band kicks in after that first verse, we hear the gorgeous aching sound of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.”

The new album co-produced by O’Donovan, Eric Jacobsen and Darren Schneider, was mostly recorded at Full Sail University in Orlando by Schneider, Brooklyn Recording in Brooklyn and Power Station in Manhattan. It was mixed by Schneider and mastered at Chicago Mastering by Bob Weston. Most of the songs on the record grew out of two commissions O’Donovan took on – from the Orlando Philharmonic where she now lives, and the FreshGrass Festival in her native Massachusetts. Following performances with both institutions, O’Donovan continued to explore the themes that would become “All My Friends” in full. The project features a number of special guests including Anaïs Mitchell, Sierra Hull, Noam Pikelny, The Knights, The Westerlies, The San Francisco Girls Chorus, Alan Hampton, Griffin Goldsmith and more.

The new album is available for pre-order starting today on CD and multiple LP versions from this link. The standard LP, available everywhere on March 22nd, is pressed on Violet colour vinyl. The indie/D2C only version has alternate cover art and is pressed on Ochre color vinyl with an autographed insert. In addition, Magnolia Record Club has an exclusive version with standard cover art pressed on Green vinyl with an autographed insert.

You can catch her live at London’s Barbican on June 18th 2024.

About Mark Whitfield 2018 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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