I saw that The National are playing in Berlin when I’ll be there in a few weeks, but given that I caught them in the Olympia before Christmas, I wasn’t pushed about seeing them again. A good old-fashioned catch-up chat over a bottle of wine in an alleyway should suffice. But the other day I noticed that they have Sharon Van Etten supporting that night and I suddenly got the urge to seek out tickets for the sold out gig. Van Etten has creeped up in the musical shuffle that accompanies my daily commutes a few times recently and reminded me what a great songwriter she is.
The song that popped up a few times recently was “Much More Than That” from her 2009 album Because I Was In Love. It’s a slow, tip-toe of an acoustic guitar line, wrapped up in tentative swooning vocals. The main vocal part is cold and forlorn but there is a contentedness amidst the loneliness that really defines the song. Her more recent release, 2010’s Epic, is a more polished, country-tinged affair but her strengths as a vocalist and songwriter still shine through. [Insert names of female folk singer comparisons here.]
The internet tells me things like she is from Brooklyn, which is not surprising. It also tells me she sang on The Antlers’ album Hospice, on the track “Thirteen”, which makes her even more brilliant. Fact. Weirdly, as I was looking her up on Soundcloud the other day, it seemed she had just – in the past couple of minutes – uploaded her two albums to the site for streaming. Lucky me. And you. Get some below or check out her page here.