I don’t normally pay much heed to the ‘latest big thing’ in musical circles – there is just so much hype about usually very little substance, but there is a new album by a quite unique artist that has been sitting at the top of my playlist for the past few weeks.
I investigated Joanna Newsom’s music after she featured Roy Harper as support at a recent UK gig, and having heard some positive mumblings from some reliable sources, I have to say that I was instantly enthralled. She gets labelled as ‘freak folk’ apparently, but to these ears there’s a healthy mix of not just folk, but classical chamber music, progressive rock, blues and plenty more – a real eclectic acoustic brew.
To me her vocal style and the cascading flood of lyrical images reminds me of Captain Beefheart around the Trout Mask era, which is high praise indeed. That’s not to say she sounds LIKE Beefheart, but she certainly appeals to whatever bits of the brain and soul that thrive on the Captain. Long may she continue to follow her own unique path and avoid being swallowed and spat out by the media monster – the world needs more gems like this instead of the music-by-committee z-factor drivel that the public is being fed intravenously at the moment.
Here’s a performance of a song from her new album, Ys…