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Listen: Joanna Newsom at 6th&I

By Mehan on Flickr (cc)

I  just came back from a trip to New York, got some great reading done, and had an infrastructural safari in Manhattanville. I’ll talk about these in good time, but for now I want to continue my tradition of talking about things that happened months ago.

Back in late February, I went to see Joanna Newsom at the 6th&I Historic Synagogue, and you know, the word “awesome” is really overused these days. It was awesome. You can also read NOMOFOMO’s coverage of the event, which was actually written around the time of the concert.

In the time since then NPR covered and recorded the entire show. If you have a little over and hour, you can listen (fixed so the link works now), and for the good of your soul, you should take the time.

Now, many people find her voice to be skreetchy, generally because most people gave up after her first album, and I can’t necessarily blame them. But her voice has mellowed without losing any of the color or expressiveness that she always had. It may have gotten better, in fact. As an example, check out the album version of Inflammatory Writ, a song I used to find unlistenable:

Inflammatory Writ – Album version

And compare that to the much different version from the concert:

Inflammatory Writ – 6th&I 2010

The setlist was ’81Kingfisher, The Book of Right-On, Easy, Soft as Chalk, Inflammatory Writ, Good Intentions Paving CompanyHave One on MeYou and Me, Bess, Monkey & Bear, and she played the “bummer” of Baby Birch at the end.

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Turn off the sound and just watch the hands.