Songbirds Edition: Miranda Lee Richards, Sonya Kitchell & Aoife O’Donovan


Miranda Lee Richards: Echoes of the Dreamtime

There’s a certain brand of folk music that just doesn’t work without a beautiful female singing voice. Lucky for us, 2016 already has produced several great albums from such songbirds. First up, is Miranda Lee Richards whose backstory is filled with interesting tidbits (cameos from R. Crumb and Kirk Hammett, among others), but has otherwise flown under my radar until now with Echoes Of The Dreamtime, her first release in seven years. Besides the excellent songs and lovely vocals, the thing I love about this album is that every song has a different little surprise in it, from a pop-up guitar bridge, to interesting instrumentation (excellent use of sitar, for example) and a little more of this and that. You heard it here first!


Sonya Kitchell: We Come Apart

Hopefully Sonya Kitchell is familiar to some JamBase readers as she’s collaborated with old JB faves like The Slip and Soulive over the years. Like Richards, she’s back after a few years absence with the newly released We Come Apart. The album is marked by a certain songwriter’s maturity and warmth: you can feel how these songs started with just the voice and an acoustic guitar and were blanketed with a full band and even more – backup singers, strings, etc. – until each one hit its natural size. In a musical landscape filled with plenty of next-Joni-Mitchell hopefuls, Kitchell definitely makes her mark.


Aoife O’Donovan: In the Magic Hour

In a few short years, Aoife O’Donovan has gone from a relatively unknown up-and-comer to a singer who, with her newest album, In the Magic Hour, is on the verge of becoming a “star,” or whatever the present-day equivalent of a “star” is. Taking her background in bluegrass and folk and her gorgeous voice and building from there, the new one is a real delight that hopefully will find all the ears it deserves with or without my recommendation. But, just in case you were going to let it pass you by, it still gets the full RecommNed approval.