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.