Joanna Newsom “Y’s

Several years ago Stereophile’s resident analog expert and generalissimo ofAnalog Planet, Michael Fremer, turned me on to Joanna Newsom via her quite extraordinary record: “Ys” (pronounced ‘ease”) on the Drag City label. It was a tour-de-force of über musicianship, compositional creativity (Van Dyke Parks), and really quite excellent recording skills. I have three copies of that record, and have bought other copies as gifts to friends, that’s how much I dig it.

Joanna seems to me equal parts demur sex kitten, batshit crazy cat lady, and otherworldly harp-goddess. Her voice is yet another very distinct and unmistakable one, at times almost unreal … you’d be forgiven if you thought she might have taken a small helium bump right before singing. And yet it pervades and disarms like a beautiful perfume, leaving one helpless against its lovely and soporific power.

While I strongly recommend that you get at least two copies of the “Ys” LP before you can’t get them anymore, I’m posting here a video of her performing a more recent composition from her 2010 release “Have One On Me” (3-LP Boxed Set) – also a worthy addition to your collection.



Chris Sommovigo loves music, enjoys audio, designs cables, seeks Truth. Since the mid 1980's he has been on both sides of the microphone, all sides of the industry, prefers tubes and vinyl, appreciates and respects solid state and digital, and will make great efforts to be present for a wonderful meal. Aside from this present foray into editorial life, Chris remains a small-scale manufacturer, importer, and specialized retailer and has recently started taking guitar lessons again after a 32-year hiatus.

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