Sharon Van Etten

Photo – Ryan Pfluger

Sharon Van Etten has always has always had a voice that buckled my knees. Hell, I’d get emotional watching that Volvo commercial with Every Time The Sun Comes Up. In every article you read about her, she comes across as smart, sexy yet as approachable as the girl next door.

As the first PR pieces came out about her first album in five years, there was lots of talk about how synths were going to be prominently featured on this album. As a general rule, I don’t like synths. I think too often they are used a crutch to mask mediocre songwriting. But when used right, they can really bring something to the table.

Van Etten’s use reminds me of how Tim Showalter uses them with Strand Of Oaks. Neither of them let the synths wash them out which is why when I saw this tweet and Sharon and Tim’s response, I got a little excited.

Remind Me Tomorrow is a truly brilliant album. Seventeen is now my favorite SVE track. As I emailed to her publicist, “as a father to a 12 y/o daughter, it really hits home.” I sure hope she doesn’t wait five years til her new album but with all she’s got going on, it will be understandable. And it will definitely be worth the wait.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Sharon Van Etten is here


photo credit – Ryan Pfluger

Finally we have an answer to a question that became so fevered that a t-shirt was made. The answer is 1/18/19 via the fine folks at Jagjaguwar. Produced by John Congleton, Van Etten’s sound has evolved a bit. The first track, Comeback Kid, is more upbeat and features more synths that prior albums. I’ve listened twice and I have to say, it took a bit of getting used to but I dig it. Here’s some more info from her PR squad.

For Remind Me Tomorrow, Van Etten put down the guitar. When she was writing the score for Strange Weather her reference was Ry Cooder; she was playing her guitar constantly and getting either bored or writer’s block. At the time, she was sharing a studio space with someone who had a synthesizer and an organ, and she wrote on piano at home, so she naturally gravitated to keys when not working on the score – to clear her mind. Lead single “Comeback Kid” was originally a piano ballad, but driven by Van Etten’s assertion that she “didn’t want it to be pretty,” it evolved into a menacing anthem. Remind Me Tomorrow as a whole shows this magnetism towards new instruments: piano keys that churn, deep drones, distinctive sharp drums. There are dark intense synths, a propulsive organ, a distorted harmonium.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Sharon Van Etten is here


Sharon Van Etten – Serpents [new mp3]

by Woody on December 2, 2011

Sharon Van Etten has a new album coming out on February 7th via the fine folks at Jagjaguwar. Below you gives you a taste of what you are in for with the first single, “Serpents.” We criminally overlooked Epic in our “best albums of 2010 list,” but I feel confident we won’t be making the same mistake in 2012. Here is some PR from Jagjaguwar and some tour dates. I’m guessing by the lack of activity in March, you’ll see her in Austin.

Sharon Van Etten – Serpents

We are pleased to announce that Sharon Van Etten’s debut album on Jagjaguwar, Tramp, will be released February 7. The album, which is the culmination of 14 months of scattered recording sessions with the National’s Aaron Dessner, contains as much striking rock as pious, minimal beauty; it can be as emotionally combative as it can sultry. Contributions from Matt Barrick (The Walkmen), Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), Zach Condon (Beirut), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), Julianna Barwick, and Dessner himself add a glowing sheen to the already substantial offering.

Van Etten will play shows with Shearwater and The War On Drugs all over North America in support of this release. A list of tour dates is below:

12/13/11 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre w/ The National
02/10/12 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s w/ Shearwater
02/11/12 Washington, DC – Black Cat w/ Shearwater
02/12/12 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle w/ Shearwater
02/14/12 Columbus, OH – Wexner Center w/ Shearwater
02/15/12 Newport, KY – Southgate House w/ Shearwater
02/16/12 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall w/ Shearwater
02/17/12 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall w/ Shearwater
02/18/12 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center w/ Shearwater
02/21/12 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace w/ Shearwater
02/22/12 Montreal, QC – Il Motore w/ Shearwater
02/23/12 Boston, MA – Paradise w/ Shearwater
02/24/12 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Shearwater
02/25/12 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom w/ Shearwater
03/20/12 Los Angeles, CA – The Avalon w/ The War on Drugs
03/21/12 San Francisco, CA – The Independent w/ The War on Drugs
03/23/12 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre w/ The War on Drugs
03/24/12 Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret w/ The War on Drugs
03/25/12 Seattle, WA – The Neptune
03/27/12 Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room w/ The War on Drugs
03/28/12 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater w/ The War on Drugs
03/31/12 St. Louis, MO – Luminary Center for the Arts w/ The War on Drugs
04/01/12 Bloomington, IN – Rhinos w/ The War on Drugs


Sharon Van Etten – Epic [Album Review]

by Woody on January 15, 2011

After ignoring Sharon Van Etten throughout 2011, I continued to see Epic on year-end lists at blogs I respect like Muzzle Of Bees and Captain Obvious. I finally gave in to see what all the fuss was about.

The opening track, “A Crime,” is basic enough with just Sharon and an acoustic accompanying her. Nothing crazy – just her striking voice over some chords, yet I was transfixed by the song. The lyrics hit you between the eyes and she nails the emotions with her voice.

At that point, I thought what I was dealing with was a singer-songwriter type. Woman + guitar equals songs. Got it. Once again I was wrong. “Peace Signs” offers a full band, backing vocals, and Sharon shows more vocal range.

After two songs I was on board. Van Etten’s smoldering voice had me hook, line, and sinker. By the time “Save Yourself” introduced steel guitar to the scene, I realized the mistake we made in overlooking this album and leaving it off our Best of 2010 list.

My only complaint about Epic is it’s brevity. Seven songs is just a tease. So to recap, Sharon Van Etten is good, on occasion we are dummies, and your collection would be much happier with Ms. Van Etten in the mix.

Sharon Van Etten – Love More

Sharon Van Etten – For You