Aiofe O’Donovan and Jethro Tull: new albums, Springsteen covers, and … Indian food?

Jethro Tull breaks a a nearly 20-year drought in one week with The Zealot Gene. It’s the first Tull studio album since a Christmas album in 2003. The title track sports a rather involved animated video that may feel stylistically familiar to today’s prog rock fans.

Ian Anderson posted a two-part interview about The Zealot Gene‘s origins and recording process, which was complicated enough before COVID arrived. Here’s that title track (with another advance video at bottom).

Skating away on the spice of a Tindaloo …

New album promo is nothing new for a band website, of course, but in-depth advice about a certain type of restaurant cuisine is hardly standard fare. Ian Anderson has us covered here, too, thanks to an article tucked deeper into the Jethro Tull website: Ian Anderson’s Guide To Choosing Indian Food.

Anderson has apparently received quite a few requests for help along these lines over the years, and his response more than meets the challenge.

The thorough overview will enlighten menu-scanners on the difference between a Madras and Korma, good middle-of-the-road options, and traditional vegetarian offerings. Anderson throws in insights on everything from breads to beer suggestions.

Mild to reckless, dry spices to creamy sauces, Anderson knows his stuff and frames the article in a way to help the less familiar enjoy the flavors of an Indian outing (or take-out) without inadvertently doing themselves harm.

Aiofe’s Age Of Apathy

Aiofe O’Donovan, whom you may know from her days as the frontwoman for Crooked Still, releases Age Of Apathy today. O’Donovan continues to trade in (or build upon) her folkier/acoustic roots with more fleshed-out production, and the advance tracks have sounded good.

Her Bandcamp page offers the 11-song album or a 2CD version that includes an extra disc of 8 songs from the new collection performed solo acoustic. It’s also available in standard or deluxe limited edition vinyl.

If you need an extra nudge to check it out, O’Donovan enlisted Joe Henry to produce this album. He brings along a few familiar comrades including Jay Bellerose on drums and Henry’s own son Levon on reed instruments.

(Btw, if you missed O’Donovan as 1/3 of supertalented trio I’m With Her, featuring Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, look them up, too.)

Nebraska revisited

The Middle 8 is big on worthwhile covers and even bigger on Springsteen, so I can’t let this Aiofe O’Donovan sighting pass without mentioning her full-album cover of Nebraska.

She may not have used an old Tascam 4-track to make it, but O’Donovan did pay some homage to Bruce’s original’s process by recording the entire album in a single day last September.

Nebraska pops up more often than one might expect on folks’ “favorite Springsteen albums” short list. I’d bet the vast majority of those people would enjoy another round of long-distance salvation from O’Donovan.

Here’s a video of her performing “Atlantic City” with some bluegrassy help, and a live solo take of “Nebraska” in a setting that brings the story a little closer.

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