Joanna Newsom

March 24th, 2010 · 9 Comments · By

Joanna Newsom, the one and only harpist-virtuoso folk-songstress, is at The Jefferson tonight. Suffice to say, I haven’t been this excited about a show in a long time. Newsom’s last album ‘Ys’ is probably in my top 3 albums of all time. Which is something I’m surprised I don’t hear more often, even from critics and music writers. The fact of the matter is, there’s just not a ‘single’ on it that can be pointed to as a singular example of the brilliance of the whole album. The pieces (I don’t think we word ‘songs’ really suffices) clock in on average at around 10 minutes, thick with orchestration, rich and witty lyricism, and song structures that are themselves a little mind-bending, weaving in and out of returning themes and refrains and running off on wild tangents, sometimes packing a whole album’s worth of ideas into a single 15-minute track.

Her brand new album, ‘Have One On Me’, is only a couple weeks old at the moment, and no less ambitious than ‘Ys’. It’s a triple LP(!), over two hours long in all, and in the weeks since it’s release I’ve been slowly combing through it. Like most of my favorite songwriters, Newsom’s songs rarely hook me on the first listen. In fact, it often takes at least two or three repetitions for a refrain to sink in and to get familiar with the various peaks and valleys of each piece. It’s complex stuff and the backing orchestration, while not as prominent as on Ys, continues to go for broke, weaving string, horn, and some amazing percussion arrangements throughout. For those new to Newsom’s music, start off listening to the track ‘Good Intentions Paving Company’, from the new album. It’s not really representative of the album as a whole, but it’s a good (and catchy) introduction to her off-beat songwriting style, with a healthy dose of soul thrown in.

Anyway, amazingly, this show tonight isn’t yet sold out, so if you’re not doing anything tonight, get a ticket right now!

Oh, and bizarrely, Fred Armisen, of SNL fame, is opening for her as a character named Jens Hammemann, Master of Complicated Drumming. Or something like that. Anyway, sounds bizarre and entertaining. Can’t wait to see what that’s all about.

And afterwards, Blair Amberly from Speakertree is spinning records at The Box. Sure to be the hotspot for after the show!

Tags: preview

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jacob // Mar 24, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Whooooaaaaa.

  • 2 gary // Mar 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

    videos from joanna newsom show:

    jens hannemann [fred armisen] –

    pt. 1: http://tinyurl.com/ylje9sv ,

    pt. 2 – http://tinyurl.com/yjvltou

    joanna newsom:

    “jackrabbits”- http://tinyurl.com/ylmd3xv

    “good intentions paving company” w/ fred armisen – http://tinyurl.com/yaxel94

    more to come…

  • 3 Brenning // Mar 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Oh my goodness… It was amazing.

  • 4 Chris T. // Mar 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    That dude Gary who posts here got mentioned on Pitchfork News (omg, omg, omg!). Link below
    http://pitchfork.com/news/38279-fred-armisen-joins-joanna-newsom/

  • 5 Joe // Mar 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Setlist?

  • 6 John // Mar 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Here’s the setlist:

    http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/joanna-newsom/2010/jefferson-theater-charlottesville-va-5bd4a38c.html

    Also of note: “Baby Birch” was the encore on the setlist that the sound guy had, but they busted out “Peach, Plum Pear” instead.

  • 7 James // Mar 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    the Box gig was fun, too — and I have the hangover to prove it!

  • 8 Twitter Trackbacks for Joanna Newsom [nailgunmedia.com] on Topsy.com // Mar 26, 2010 at 12:46 am

    […] Joanna Newsom http://www.nailgunmedia.com/blog/?p=1983 – view page – cached Joanna Newsom, the one and only harpsist-virtuoso folk-songstress, is at The Jefferson tonight. Suffice to say, I haven’t been this excited about a show in a long time. Newsom’s last album ‘Ys’ is probably in my top 3 albums of all time. Which is something I’m surprised I don’t hear more often, even from critics and music writers. The fact of the matter is, there’s just not a… Read moreJoanna Newsom, the one and only harpsist-virtuoso folk-songstress, is at The Jefferson tonight. Suffice to say, I haven’t been this excited about a show in a long time. Newsom’s last album ‘Ys’ is probably in my top 3 albums of all time. Which is something I’m surprised I don’t hear more often, even from critics and music writers. The fact of the matter is, there’s just not a ’single’ on it that can be pointed to as a singular example of the brilliance of the whole album. The pieces (I don’t think we word ’songs’ really suffices) clock in on average at around 10 minutes, thick with orchestration, rich and witty lyricism, and song structures that are themselves a little mind-bending, weaving in and out of returning themes and refrains and running off on wild tangents, sometimes packing a whole album’s worth of ideas into a single 15-minute track. View page Filter tweets […]

  • 9 Andrew // Mar 26, 2010 at 10:37 am

    http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=1990812060534937&ShowArticle_ID=11802603103217071