Sometimes a record comes along that not only conveys a specific mood, but literally gives and gives and soulfully shares a human experience from artist to listener. Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me is one such record.
On initial listen, it’s easy to dismiss the young, deftly talented artist as another female singer embodying the stereotypical Tori Amos or, dare I say, a nouveau Jewel. Her voice is wonderful, but easily compared to those that came before. However, Have One On Me is so sophisticated and structured, loose and free, long and short, sparse but filled, overplayed yet underplayed … the list goes on. It is an album that begs to be listened to on a nice set of headphones, alone in your own thoughts but also caught up in the subtleties that Ms. Newsom evokes through her lyrics, her voice, and her fantastical, huge-ass harp playing. It’s astonishing to take in the full scope of this triple album. There are moments of wondrous beauty and deep despair, but through it all the constant is the human quality of all the emotions inherent in the record. And Ms. Newsom delivers with unrepentant humanism.
In a world of radio friendly pop, where even fringe artists now go for overproduced records meant to sell paired down singles or at least a few iTunes sales, Joanna Newsom embodies the belief that music can still hit you right where it counts. The heart.
Have One on Me is out now on Drag City.