Pop Quiz: Joanna Newsom

Aidin Vaziri | Joanna Newsom’s latest album, “Have One on Me” – all three discs and 125 minutes of it – separates the gawkers from the faithful. Now the stunning 28-year-old Nevada City native and Mills College alumna is back on the road with a full band, mesmerizing those who fall into the latter category with her virtuoso harp playing and distinctive voice, which I once regrettably described as a piercing flutter that’s pitched somewhere between Björk and a hand brake. She sounds nothing like Björk.


Joanna Newsom
Q: “Have One on Me” is a triple album that runs more than two hours. How do you pick which songs to play live without hurting the other songs’ feelings?
A: Well, at the moment I’m traveling with a full band of amazing musicians, so I don’t want to eat up too much time in the set list with solo harp or solo piano songs. At some point, maybe next year, I would like to try doing some solo touring in order to play the more stripped-down songs that have been set aside during this tour.
Q: I have to ask: Is playing the harp and singing kind of like rubbing your belly while patting your head?
A: It’s literally exactly like that.
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