Posts Tagged ‘Joanna Newsom’

Photograph by Jesse Chehak


 The first time I heard Joanna Newsom was a real double take moment.  As in WTF?  That lasted about 3 minutes ( which would be the length of a more conventional song but hers go on and on giving you plenty of time to change your first impression).  Before the full 12 minutes had passed I was enchanted.  Completely seduced  by a singer-songwriter who doesn’t sound anything like what you expect to hear from a harpist.  Unless you’ve also been listening to Deborah Henson-ConantPark Stickney,  Edmar Castenada, and any number of other innovators who defy stereotype and happen to send me soaring.   Of course I don’t know where we all got the idea that harpists only belong in churches, weddings and orchestras but it sticks.  All you have to do is hear someone’s story about the bride who only wants a fancy gold harp (or a pretty female harpist with wavy butt length hair) to get a feel for the look and matching sound.  In a NYTimes article called The Changling, Jody Rosen (music critic for Slate) writes that Joanna Newsom has  “virilized the harp, bringing a funky pulse to a dowdy drawing-room instrument” which seems like a bit of a stretch.  However I’ve totally caved to the Joanna Newsom neo Pre-Raphaelite  thing and can’t get her songs out of my head.  And that’s what it’s all about right?


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