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reveals her growing confidence, both as a singer and instrumentalist.Like its predecessor, the EP’s five cuts are early versions of songs destined for newer and better interpretations in the future.On the former, Newsom’s harp playing is clearly tentative, leading to watery, almost new age performances, and the charming, almost child-like qualities of her untrained voice had yet to develop fully.Three of the eight cuts on Walnut Whales have yet to be released in any other form, while the five remaining tracks are essentially demos, later re-recorded for Newsom’s debut full-length.She and her two musical siblings—Pete and Emily—were brought up in a musical household, with their mother being a concert pianist and their father a guitarist.
On the album, she frames the majority of her songs with her mellifluously plucked harp strings, which issue in near-constant arpeggiations.
The next year, Newsom made guest appearances on Bunyan’s remarkable comeback album, , introducing Newsom to the arranger who had collaborated with the likes of Brian Wilson, Carly Simon, and Rufus Wainwright, among others.
This would lead to Parks teaming with Newsom on her sophomore release, (2006 Drag City)—pronounced “Ease”—an album named for a mythical city swallowed by the sea off the coast of Brittany, France.
Her use of classical harp imbues her songs with the feel of Renaissance music, while her quirky, untrained voice yields a decidedly modern sound. In 2007, Newsom was nominated for the Shortlist Music Prize.
Joanna Newsom was born on January 18, 1982, in Nevada City, California.