It's going to be a crazy summer for Aoife O'Donovan, whose tour schedule has her bouncing from coast to coast, Canada to California. She started two weeks ago and has another 36 shows in the next six weeks.
Tonight she's on the South Side, promoting "Fossils," her first solo project.
"We got into town last night and had a pretty amazing meal at Meat & Potatoes and we're having a blast," she said this afternoon. "We just finished an hour running in Schenley Park."
This is Ms. O'Donovan's second visit to town. Her first came a couple of years ago, when she was part of Crooked Still, a progressive bluegrass band with which she spent 10 years. The result was five studio albums and the chops to head out on her own.
"It's like I kind of did the band thing for a long time and I wanted to make my own album," she said. "I felt like it was a long time coming and that I've been around the block enough now that the nervousness is gone.
"I could have done it 10 years ago, but it would have been a very different record and I'm really happy with it coming out now. I just turned 30 and I feel I'm more ready for the world as a songwriter than I was when I was 20."
According to her Wikipedia profile, Ms. O'Donovan, whose first name is pronounced ee-fuh, is a native of Massachusetts. She spent her school-year summers in Ireland studying Celtic folk music and dance.
"Somebody needs to delete that from my Wikipedia page," she said. "I did spend summers in Ireland, but I was not studying anything. I was just hanging out with my cousins. If listening to '60s music in the back of a car counts as studying, I guess, but there was no formal studying."
But there has always been a keen interest in American folk music. From that has evolved her own style, which has been described as "folky Americana country rock."
"Mostly just me, I guess," she said.
Ms. O'Donovan said "Fossils" is a mix of new tunes and songs "that have been living inside me and on stage for the last five years. It's exciting to make them come to life."
"It's all original music," she said proudly.
And it's been getting great reviews, including a four-star boost from American Songwriter, which said: "O'Donovan slathers her hushed, sexy vocals over a potent combination of folk, pop and country influenced music that simmers with white heat."
The record is a collaboration with noted producer Tucker Martine, with whom Ms. O'Donovan was eager to work. Most of her show tonight will be from "Fossils."
"As an audience member, I love going to a concert where the show is better than the record," she said. "I'm striving for that. I've got some great players with me and, while we, of course, can't replicate the studio sound of the record, the show has a lot of energy that you don't get from an album."
The current tour started June 6 and some of her songs have been getting great buzz on the Internet.
"It's broadened the awareness," she said, "so we'll see if that translates into 'asses in seats,' as they say in the biz."
You can be in one of those seats tonight at the Rex Theater on East Carson Street at 7 p.m. The opening act is Boston singer-songwriter Dietrich Strause. There's a $15 cover.
If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at email@example.com or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/