Americana artists Aoife O’Donovan & Willie Watson make their Weisiger debut this October
By MANDY PRATHER
Norton Center for the Arts
Americana meets folk, and roots meets indie-rock, as artists Aoife O’Donovan and Willie Watson make their Weisiger Theatre debut in a co-bill on Oct. 13.
O’Donovan began her musical career as the lead singer and songwriter/song-finder for Crooked Still, one of the most acclaimed progressive strings groups in the last decade. Audiences will also experience the quiet gravitas of Watson, a founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show, whose high, lonesome vocals combined with skilled banjo and guitar playing make for an unforgettable sound.
“For the past several years, the Norton Center has been very intentional about selecting some of the world’s greatest Americana/roots artists and building this growingly popular genre’s audience,” said Norton Center executive director Steve Hoffman. “This season we are truly fortunate to bring both Aoife and Willie to the Bluegrass State to perform their genuine yet unique, traditional yet original music.
Both performers bring a remarkable amount of artistic street cred to their performances. O’Donovan has had collaborations with everyone from Allison Krauss to Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz to Dave Douglas thanks to the versatility of her voice. Especially noteworthy washer role as vocalist in the Grammy winning Goat Rodeo Sessions alongside Norton Center past performers Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma.
For this concert, she will be joined by an intimate trio and feature songs from her sophomore album In the Magic Hour, an introspective effort full of gauzy, frictionless sounds and her honeyed vocals.
Multi-instrumentalist Watson will perform from his debut solo album, Folk Singer Vol. 1, which features songs spanning the great American folk songbook. Like O’Donovan, Watson has experienced some tragedy which has served as a springboard for his writing and has informed his art immensely. Taking inspiration from Greg Allman, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young, among others, Watson says making the album “happened naturally… as soon as I was playing solo, I started remembering all these old tunes which led me to dig through my 78’s for more.”
These two rising stars have performed with Americana and Country music royalty and appeared at prestigious festivals such as the Newport Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and South by Southwest.
Aoife O’Donovan and Willie Watson will perform in a co-bill 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Norton Center for the Arts. Tickets are $38 and $49, and are available at NortonCenter.com or by calling the box office at (859) 236-4692.
Mandy Norton is director of marketing and development for Norton Center for the Arts.
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