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O'Donovan plays to "All My Friends"

McCabe’s, Santa Monica, Cal., March 12, 2024

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Aoife O'Donovan chose the perfectly appropriate venue to debut her upcoming "All My Friends" album, as McCabe's is the prime location for acoustic and folk-related music in Los Angeles.

This new release is a nine-song set, inspired by the passage of the 19th amendment and the suffragist movement. The album is as sobering as it is celebratory as it documents the struggles and victories of women in America.

It would be shortsighted to call this release a folk album, as it incorporates a brass section, an orchestra and even a girls' choir. Suffragist Carrie Chapman was O'Donovan's primary inspiration for this song set, drawing upon her speeches and letters to create these new songs.

The evening began with O'Donovan's introduction of the album, for the audience in their seats – arranged to watch a performance. But the audience didn't 'watch,' but instead 'listened' to this striking new work from start to finish.

After the album finished, O'Donovan returned to the stage to perform a few of the songs with just acoustic guitar before closing with a cover of "Lakes of Pontchartrain."

O'Donovan also took perceptive questions from the audience. The room was packed with O'Donovan fans that were already primed to love this new work. It's good, too, and their appreciation was not at all misplaced. Aoife O'Donovan presented her "All My Friends" album to an appreciative group of fans/friends, and these folks were not at all disappointed.

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