Wednesday, February 25, 2015

have one on me

Joanna Newsom drank to health and cruelty with delicate songs of love's godawful lawlessness at this bittersweet unhinged garden party.    The iconoclastic singer songwriter had made a dramatic leap from the relatively straightforward folkishness of her debut 'The Milk-Eyed Mender' to the dense orchestrated (conducted by Van Dyke Parks ) epics of 'Y's'; but for 'Have One On Me', she took the reins herself to create a sprawling stylistically diverse triple album in as many years.  During the recording, nodes on her vocal chords force her to go without talking or singing for two months.  The sessions featured Joanna Newsom on harp, piano, vocals, production, piano and vocal arrangements;   Alex Camphouse on horn;  Dan Cantrell on piano, hammond organ, pump organ, harpsichord, and accordion;  Patrick Cress on bass clarinet;  conductor Ryan Francesconi on string arrangements, Bulgarian tambura, kaval, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, banjo, mandolin, and soprano recorder;  Sascha Groschang on cello;  Djeina Haruta on viola;  Shawn Jones on bassoon;  Shira Kammen on vielle and rebec;  Dan Koretzky on timpani;  Katie Kresek, Yeolim Nam, and Philip Payton on violin;  Judith Linsenberg on alto, tenor, and bass recorder;  Kane Mathis on kora;  Greg Moore, Thom Moore, and Lily Storm on backing vocals;  Neal Morgan on drum and percussion arrangements, drum set, percussion, timpani, and backing vocals; David Morris on viola da Gamba;  Eric Oberthaler on trumpet and cornet;  Laura Reynolds on oboe;  Andrew Roitstein on double bass; Phaedon Sinis on flute, tarhu, and kemence;  and Andrew Strain on trombone;  with mixing by Noah Georgeson (who had produced 'The Milk-Eyed Mender' ) and Jim O'Rourke; mastering by Steve Rooke and additional arrangements by Greg Moore, Thom Moore, and Lila Sklar.  

Newsom would reveal:     "I didn't have a fully contained vision going in. I didn't have a concept - and it's not a concept record - but I had a mood and I had a set of things that were inspiring me at that particular time. And I had a sense…I mean, it's almost like if you were expecting a child or something and you had some sort of instinct about whether it would be a boy or a girl and you had some sort of vision of it hovering, it was kind of like that! It took a while for me to understand what it was going to be...I write for pleasure, I write music for pleasure, and although often it's very hard for me and drives me crazy and I get a lot of angst from it and unhappiness from the struggles I have with it, it does come from an impulse of joy. And so I think sometimes you just go where that impulse leads you, and that sort of dictates a very different lyrical style from the first record, second record and third record. And I think it relates, in part, to what I'm reading, or to other types of writing I'm doing. But it's true that there was a very distilled quality to the words. There weren't very complex or compacted strings of words sort of qualifying each other and amending each other and augmenting each other. They were just stripped down lines that were just sort of plain spoken in a way. [laughs] For me, plain spoken!... on one level there was a tonal decision to choosing the title that has a relationship with the tone of the record. There is a directness to it and an earthiness to it - it's something that's said in a bar! There is a decadence to the phrase, and a thread of that runs through the whole record, from decisions surrounding the arrangements to the visuals and the lyrics. Decadence is just like intense physicality, so that phrase underscored that quality of the record. And then the title is meant to point at the title track as the sort of central thematic message of the record. I also like the fact that that track is a story. So rather than me saying, 'This is the thing I want to say about me and my life right now', I'm pointing at that song to say, 'There is all the information you need with which to approach the rest of the record'.,,It also refers to a kind of self-sacrifice that is a theme in a lot of the songs. It's a very feminine thing as well. It's the giving of yourself in those drinking terms, like pouring something from a bottle, and the level of the wine goes down and down and down with each glass that you pour and hand out. And it relates to the title track because that's sort of essentially what I saw in Lola Montez's life [Lola being the dancer who was the mistress of the King Of Bavaria, who ultimately lived and died an outcast in America, who is the subject of your title track and Newsom seems to be referring to in the album inlay photographs.] This constant wandering and diminishment of the self through the giving of the self, through performing, and just as the myth grew, the self shrunk until she just died poverty stricken and alone with pneumonia, being cared for by Jesuit priests that she hated. And having these affairs with these incredibly important powerful men, none of who took care of her. The way women were, and the way women are in that sense, is fundamental."

'Have One On Me' reached number one hundred and seventy one in France; eighty in Canada; seventy-five in Switzerland and on the US Billboard 200; fifty-four in the Netherlands and Sweden; forty-nine in Austria; forty-six in Belgium; forty in Germany;  twenty-eight in the UK; twenty-four in Ireland; sixteen in Norway and on the US Billboard top digital album chart; seven on the US Billboard top independent album chart; and number one on the US Billboard top folk albums chart.

"Have One On Me"

"Good Intentions Paving Company"

"On a Good Day"



"Soft as Chalk"

'Have One On Me'
full album:

All songs written by Joanna Newsom.

Disc 1
1. "Easy"   6:04
2. "Have One On Me"   11:02
3. "'81"   3:51
4. "Good Intentions Paving Company"   7:02
5. "No Provenance"   6:25
6. "Baby Birch"   9:30
Total length:  43:54

Disc 2
1. "On a Good Day"   1:48
2. "You and Me, Bess"   7:12
3. "In California"   8:41
4. "Jackrabbits"   4:23
5. "Go Long"   8:02
6. "Occident"   5:37
Total length:  35:37

Disk 3
1. "Soft as Chalk"   6:29
2. "Esme"   7:56
3. "Autumn"   8:01
4. "Ribbon Bows"   6:10
5. "Kingfisher"   9:11
6. "Does Not Suffice"   6:44

Total length:  44:31

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