Last night at the Royal Festival Hall in London’s Southbank I was part of especially lucky group of people that got to see Joanna Newsom perform. I’ve seen her play once before at the Royal Albert Hall and both times she and her cohorts have been incredible.
For the uninitiated Joanna Newsom music forms the culmination of some very unfashionable components that make a whole quite unlike any other artist that I know of. To start she plays a rather unwieldy (but elegant) harp, which is the focal instrument on most of her songs. These songs are often massive in length, the title track from her new album “Have One On Me” clocks in at huge 11 minutes long. Then throw in that her voice sounds a bit Lisa Simpsonish, but with more tone and depth. Then you can understand why she isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
But for those of us who “get” her music she is almost without peer. Her songs whilst long never drag and leave you wishing you could see the world with the same beauty and myth as her lyrics describe.
I’ve decided to link my favorite of Joanna’s songs “Cosmia” taken from her second album Ys. I’ve been listening to this regularly since its release in 2006 and I still can’t get enough. If that’s not a mark of a truly great song, I don’t know what is.