A graduate of the contemporary improvisation program at the New England Conservatory of Music, O'Donovan helped to form band Crooked Still while studying in Boston. Crooked Still's most recent project, the EP "Friends of Fall," was released in 2011, nearly a year before O'Donovan signed with Yep Roc Records and released "Fossils" in June 2013.
On the first song in the set, "Glowing Heart," O'Donovan is fortified by earthy backing vocals, which serve to uplift her dulcet tones and anchor the moments when her voice dips, elemental and secure, a beautiful instrument in the vein of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez.
"Beekeeper" begins with a downscale thrum that sounds like the low droning buzz of hundreds of hives. The pitch then changes and the opening acoustic strings of "Beekeeper" are reminiscent of an Irish ballad, while the progressively distorted guitar places the song in the modern era.
"Red and White and Blue and Gold," the first single from the album, is a track about longing and the ever-present feeling of impending loss when you find something you really, really like. The line "I'm scared of the way that my heart gets sore, wondering if you're mine" digs deep into the sensation of potential heartbreak, and the simple strumming melody is the backbone of classical country.