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Aoife O'Donovan and Willie Watson make up an Americana double bill at Stuart's this weekend. (Submitted)
Aoife O'Donovan and Willie Watson make up an Americana double bill at Stuart's this weekend. (Submitted)

Aoife O’Donovan and Willie Watson At Stuart’s Opera House Oct. 29


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Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio welcomes an Americana double bill with Aoife O’Donovan and Willie Watson on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.

O’Donovan will perform with her band, while Watson will take the stage as a one man band.

For a decade, O’Donovan wielded her instrument with tensile strength as the captivating lead singer of the Boston-based progressive string band Crooked Still. She was a featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, the Grammy-winning album by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile, has made regular appearances on A Prairie Home Companion and collaborated with some of the most eminent names in music across a wide variety of genres from Alison Krauss to Dave Douglas.

In 2013 O’Donovan released her debut solo album, Fossils, a moody collection of original songs with a country lilt. The album garnered praise from The New York Times and Rolling Stone, while The Guardian deemed O’Donovan the “next Americana celebrity.” Most recently O’Donovan has lent her voice to the folk trio I’m With Her with singers Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek) and Sarah Jarosz.

In the quiet moments found between touring her first solo album and collaborating with mainstay folk and bluegrass peers, Aoife O’Donovan found the inspiration to write her sophomore album In the Magic Hour — out this past January on Yep Roc Records. The result of O’Donovan’s days of solitude is a 10-song album full of the singer’s honeyed vocals mixed with gauzy, frictionless sounds: splashing cymbals, airy harmonies, the leisurely baritone musings of an electric guitar.

 

Willie Watson is known for his work with Old Crow Medicine Show, but his newest release is 2014’s Folk Singer Vol. 1 produced by the legendary David Rawlings. Watson is now center-stage, armed with an acoustic guitar, banjo and the occasional mouth harp. Indeed, hearing Watson’s skillful and subtle banjo and guitar accompaniments and soaring vocals unadorned for the first time is a revelation.

Willie Watson’s debut solo album, Folk Singer Vol. 1, was produced by David Rawlings at Woodland Sound Studios, the studio he co-owns with associate producer Gillian Welch in Nashville, TN, over the course of a pair of two-day sessions, for their own Acony Records label. Born in Watkins Glen, N.Y. — best-known for its race track and the rock festival of the same name which took place there, featuring the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead and The Band — Watson grew up listening to his father’s basement record collection, including Bob Dylan and Neil Young, before stumbling on a Leadbelly album at the age of 12. Combined with having heard plenty of local string bands — featuring old-time banjo and fiddle — Willie experienced an epiphany.

He began to unearth Folkways albums, including the label’s groundbreaking 1952 Harry Smith compilation, Anthology of American Folk Music, which helped kick-start the ’60s folk revival lovingly captured in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. He discovered like-minded souls in Old Crow Medicine Show. A few years down that road, Watson’s work with Old Crow is already a large part of the reason that banjo and guitar driven music is heard everywhere in the air these days.

On Folk Singer, we find Willie defending his musical turf. A true solo singer in every sense, Watson is now center-stage, armed with an acoustic guitar, banjo and the occasional mouth harp. Indeed, hearing Watson’s skillful and subtle banjo and guitar accompaniments and soaring vocals unadorned for the first time is a revelation.

Tickets are on sale now, reserved seats are $22 in advance or $27 at the door, box seats are $27 in advance or $32 at the door and can be purchased by calling (740) 753-1924 or at www.stuartsoperahouse.org.