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Aoife O’Donovan Age of Apathy Yep Roc Records
September 14th, 2021

Aoife O’Donovan Announces New Album ‘Age of Apathy,’ Out January 21, 2022


Aoife O’Donovan — the GRAMMY® Award-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.

Photo by: Omar Cruz

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. 

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