Have One on Joanna Newsom

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Joanna Newsom
Have One On Me
Drag City

Joanna Newsom’s new triple (!) disc has been shrouded in secrecy for the past two years, and now that it’s finally out, well, it was worth the wait.

The northern California musician has been playing the same old harp since age 12, and sees herself as the musical offspring of home-state artists CSNY, Joni Mitchell, and the Byrds. But Have One On Me is a departure from her past work. Newsom’s nasally voice, so off-putting to some listeners of her first albums, is now mostly angelic—due ironically to a vocal injury last year. There’s also more percussion and a deeper cache of instrumental layers here. She wrote her own harp and vocal arrangements, while Ryan Francesconi, who plays guitar, long-necked lute, banjo, mandolin, and soprano recorder on the album, arranged and engineered the recordings.

Each of these 18 songs—only three of them clock in at under five minutes; six are eight-plus—is a leg of her musical trip through the Golden State. The nice parts of it, that is: black bears and beetles and all that. When you come and see me in California / You cross the border of my heart, she croons.

This album can function as background music if you want it to, but what’s most intrusive—and interesting—is the multiplicity of texture. From lutes and harps to horns and electric guitars, it unfurls surprises on the first few listens: Check out “Soft As Chalk,” “Easy,” and the title track. Newsom describes Have One On Me as “more direct and more open” than past records. Which might be true, but her seraphic vibrato is still there if you listen for it. 
 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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