Music News & Reviews

Aoife O’Donovan finally gets her Magic Hour

Aoife O’Donovan will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday at the 20th Century Theater in Cincinnati.
Aoife O’Donovan will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday at the 20th Century Theater in Cincinnati. Chattman Photography

Sunday is usually when you start putting your weekend frame of mind in the cupboard and begin bracing for the week ahead. Let’s reverse that thinking for once. This time, Sunday will mark the start of a concert streak that will run well into next week. Here are the sounds we have mapped out for you.

Aoife O’Donovan/Mark Erelli

8 p.m. April 3 at the 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Ave. in Cincinnati. $20. 800-745-3000.,,

Usually the gorgeously atmospheric singing of Aoife O’ Donovan has been featured around the region only in performance snippets or collaborations. There have been cameos with the Goat Rodeo Sessions, Garrison Keillor and, most recently, the Louisville Orchestra. Local stops of her own have been limited to guest spots on WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour.

Sunday, however, brings a rare headlining performance by the New England songsmith and vocalist whose recordings, including the new splendid new In the Magic Hour, recalls the Americana delicacy of Alison Krauss but with a far spookier and more fanciful feel.

Tim O’Brien/Ron Block

6:45 p.m. April 4 at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center for WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, 300 E. Third St. $20. 859-252-8888, 859-280-2218.,,

Speaking of WoodSongs, the weekly taping of the long-running local radio show has a beaut of a bluegrass bill on tap for Monday. It will feature Tim O’Brien, the eclectic song stylist and multi-instrumentalist seen here most recently with Hot Rize last summer at the Lyric. The bill includes Ron Block, veteran banjost and guitarist for Alison Krauss and Union Station.

O’Brien is promoting his first solo album in four years, a mix of original and eclectic covers (ranging from works by Woody Guthrie to James Brown) called Pompadour, while Block is touring behind an outstanding new all-instrumental recording, Hogan’s House of Music.


7:30 p.m. April 5 at the EKU Center for the Arts, 1 Hall Drive in Richmond. 859-622-7469. $35-$59. $175.,

One of the biggest — and last — hits scored by arena rock staple Styx was the 1981 single Too Much Time on My Hands. These days, the Chicago-born band seems even more consumed with time than ever — especially the five-year period linking the late ’70s to the early ’80s, when Styx all but owned rock radio.

The current lineup of Styx — with mainstay members James Young and Tommy Shaw — returns to the region next week to relive hits including Come Sail Away, Renegade and The Best of Times at the EKU Center for the Arts. Scottish-born Canadian Lawrence Gowan, a member since 1999, handles vocals for songs popularized initially by ’70s/’80s Styx singer Dennis DeYoung.

Halestorm/Lita Ford/Dorothy

7:30 p.m. April 6 at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall, 405 Rose St. 800-257-4929. $45. Etixcom,,

Here’s a curious addition to the early-spring concert roster that has flown rather securely under the radar since it was announced: an evening of female-led guitar-rock acts at the Singletary Center.

Headling is Halestorm, a Pennsylvania troupe led by singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale that has been featured in a variety of disparate settings over the past few years, from an opening-act tour slot in 2014 for country renegade Eric Church to a place on an all-star tribute album honoring the late Ronnie James Dio.

Lita Ford is up next. Her career dates to her teen days with Joan Jett in The Runaways and runs through a 1989 duet hit with Ozzy Osbourne (Close My Eyes Forever) to a string of recent guitar-centric solo albums including the 2012 release Living Like a Runaway and the impending Time Capsule.

A comparatively new Los Angeles rock quartet, Dorothy, fronted by vocalist Dorothy Martin, will open the evening.

Read Walter Tunis’ blog, The Musical Box, at