May 27, 2010


Harp goddess Joanna Newsom spawns an irresistible epic that reaches for eternity.

If her 2004 debut The Milk-Eyes Mender was a dipped toe, and her 2006 follow-up Ys a waist-deep wade, then Joanna Newsom’s latest album Have One on Me is a full-body plunge. “It wasn’t something I had a lot of power over,” says the harpist and singer of the way the project evolved into a triple-disc affair. When she sat down to write, it simply opened up a world of love and heartbreak that went on and on. Out of that process came a precious song cycle that is this year’s antidote to everything ephemeral in music. Newsom’s vibrato-soaked soprano and nimble hands follow her own mythology through a varied set of long rhapsodies and short ditties that visit the outdoors and the inner soul with equal ardor.

Read the rest of Newsom’s story in our print and digital editions.

Text by Cristina Black. Photos by Annabel Mehran