Saturday, August 6, 2011

Aoife Madness: "Farewell Angelina" and "Too Repressed"

Aoife (that's EE-fuh) O'Donovan is one of the Americana world's great singers. Her voice reminds me a little of Ben Webster's saxophone: her tone is pure and clear, but there is a hint of breathiness in there that adds emotion and authenticity to the sound. I've seen her with Crooked Still a couple of times and was blown away by the band's interplay and artistry, but it's O'Donovan's singing that makes them the most magnetic bluegrass group out there. Aoife is about to tour the west coast without Crooked Still, but with her friend Christina Courtin. Check out the dates and her cover of Neil Young's "Don't Let it Bring You Down" here:

Below is her cover of Bob Dylan's gently apocalyptic "Farewell Angelina" and her own song "Too Repressed," played by her  side project Sometymes Why, which features one of the most hilariously obscene lyrics you are likely to hear in a folk club. If you see her on tour this month, be sure to request it.

 "Farewell Angelina" - Aoife O'Donovan and Chris Thile

"Too Repressed" - Sometymes Why

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Amy Winehouse: Covering Bob, Covered by Emmy

As I mentioned earlier, Amy Winehouse passed away on the same day as the great folksinger Bill Morrissey. But my praise of Bill should not be taken as veiled criticism of Amy. Why veil criticism, after all? Frankly, I find "Rehab" to be one of those annoyingly catchy songs that gets stuck between my ears for too long whenever I hear it. Her other music made no great impact on me: I found her vocal style overly affected--it distracted me from the songs she was singing. And her personal problems were of no interest to me at all. On the other hand, I am a big fan of Bob Dylan, whose song "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)" she covers here with Paul Weller and Sam Moore. And I am also a big fan of Emmy the Great, who was inspired by Winehouse's premature death to sing "Back to Black" at a recent coffee house show in her native Hong Kong (that's Emmy's native Hong Kong, not Amy's). So consider this my tribute to Amy Winehouse: she died too young, but will live on in our iPods forever.

The Mighty Quinn - Amy Winehouse, Paul Weller, and Sam Moore

Back to Black - Emmy the Great