What could be better than a night with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra doing Stephen Foster classics? Uh, how about when they’re joined by the likes of Rosanne Cash, Cincinnati’s own Over the Rhine, Dom Flemons and Aoife O’Donovan?
Dubbed “American Originals,” the Pops will endeavor to entertain fans with three nights of some of the best old American songs around. This isn’t one of those shows that requires a specific knowledge of a certain type of music. You don’t need to be a soundtrack aficionado or a Bluegrass darling to know the bulk of the compositions. Anyone who grew up in an even slightly musical family will know tunes like “Oh! Susanna” and “Amazing Grace.” Of the all-star vocal lineup, O’Donovan’s voice seems especially well suited for “American Originals.”
If ever a woman was made to sing Folk standards, it’s O’Donovan. The Boston native grew up spending summers in Ireland and upon graduating high school attended the New England Conservatory of Music. At just 32, she’s performed alongside Yo-Yo Ma and fronted multiple successful Folk outfits, including Sometymes Why and the brilliantly Bluegrass-tinged Crooked Still. These days she’s traveling the country and playing with Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins and Grammy-nominated Folk singer Sarah Jarosz on their “I’m With Her” tour, bringing sweet voices and sultry Folk/Americana sound to venues across the globe.
Whether Stephen Foster is your jam or not, “American Originals” will be worth the ticket price ($25-$99) for a chance to hear O’Donovan perform live. Visit cincinnatiarts.org for tickets and more information and also check out this week’s Cover Story, page 14, for more on the events.