The process took over a year. “It allowed me and Aoife to really listen to each item as it came in,” Henry said from his home in Maine. “And to decide, you know, do we need more? How far do we take this? »
Surprisingly, the resulting album feels cohesive and intuitive. “It feels very collaborative, but it also feels weird and futuristic,” O’Donovan said.
For O’Donovan, “Age of Apathy” is his most personal album. Unlike his other solo albums, it is full of specificities: a bus line, a highway, the sense of a historical moment. “I’ve never really written so literally before,” she added. “In the past, I would shade it in a way that tried to make it a bit more universal. But all of those things really happened.
In the title track, O’Donovan mentions the Taconic Parkway, which leads into upstate New York, and continues, “Go east on 23, past farms and festival memorabilia. She cites the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale, NY, along Route 23 at the foot of the Berkshires, where Crooked Still found its first enthusiastic audience of folk listeners and the band sold a miraculous 1,000 independent CDs, giving the kick-off to his career. The song also recalls going to a vigil at the Christian Science Center in Boston days after the 2001 World Trade Center bombings and wondering, “Was this the end or the beginning?” / All I remember is the song and the music, trying to drive away the fear. »
The album’s centerpiece, O’Donovan said, is “Elevators,” a fast-paced waltz that occasionally skips a beat, as if eager to leap forward. O’Donovan sings “that great experience of being a touring musician, the kind of amnesia you get when you’re on tour, the comfort of having no idea where you are, and yet knowing exactly where you are,” she said. . “Is it going to come back to this? Am I going to be back there saying, where am I? Who is this person walking out the door? Is it me? Is this just my ghost from past tours? »
O’Donovan’s personal touchstones are swept away in the mood of the album: thoughtful, determined, ambivalent and then resolutely hopeful. “Age of Apathy” ends with “Passengers,” a fast major-key song that returns to Joni Mitchell. He imagines a journey through interplanetary space: a way forward, post-pandemic, post-uncertainty, happily on the move again.
“Music is everything to me – it’s literally the most important thing,” she said. “When I think about where do I want my life to go, where do I want to be when I’m older, what’s going to happen after we die, music is what will get us going until the end. And the music is what will be there after we leave.