In the Magic Hour
Cozy, but not too cozy, the second solo outing from the Crooked Still singer gently toys with Americana conventions, shifting perspective just enough to keep things fresh. Much of this inviting album echoes the warm folk-pop of predecessors such as Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin, wrapping O’Donovan’s tender voice in shimmering mandolin, fiddle, guitar and the like. (Contributors include Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins, her partners in the trio I’m With Her, and the Punch Brothers’ Chris Thile.) Elsewhere, she adds dreamier elements to the rootsy template, notably on “The King of All Birds” and the almost title track “Magic Hour,” suggesting a down-home variant of Julia Holter’s luminous meditations. Throughout, O’Donovan provides a little dollop of rapture as a welcome balm for the usual everyday angst.