Sharon Van Etten
I’m sitting in the airport looking out over an overcast NY sky, waiting for my AerLingus flight to take me across the pond to London. The travels have begun. While I was in the big apple I was lucky enough to catch an unexpected show featuring Meg Baird and Sharon Van Etten, the latter who I had never seen live. Meg took the stage first, acoustic in hand, and played ten songs — some traditional ballads, some originals — that put her lithe fingerstyle guitar and tremulous tenor on full display. She silenced the room, despite noisy intrusions by subway cars rattling beneath the floorboards. At some points the guttural quakes actually underscored the music nicely, adding a bit of serendipitous texture to an already solid performance (though I highly doubt either performer was pleased). The audience’s attention stood rapt, subway sounds and all, as Sharon took the stage with her electric in hand. Her aura immediately struck me as a bird of paradise. Don’t know why, just something in the way she moved. She played songs from her new album Because I Was in Love, songs which I had never heard in person and consistently brought goosebumps to my skin. Her voice was as clear and mellifluous as ever; but what you never hear in a studio recording, what I had yet to hear but was overjoyed to experience, was the visceral texture of her voice in a live setting when the emotional core of each song was truly laid to bare.
Sharon Van Etten is currently touring the East Coast, so if you haven’t seen her either I suggest you do.