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Joanna Newsom 

Have One On Me (Drag City)

Listening to this record, a two-hour, three-disc epic, needs to be approached like reading a short story collection, taking in small sections at a time, not necessarily in order. But this aside, Have One on Me feels like Newsom's most accessible album yet; those who aren't fans of her voice may find the vocals more graceful than grating here. The urgency of her first two records has been crafted into a more mature sound, seeming a concession to the idea of adulthood. "I am no longer afraid of anything," Newsom sings on "In California," and there's a sense that the fey vulnerability of her younger persona has grown up. Ranging in length from four to 10 minutes, these songs suggest more classical modes and '60s folk ballads than freak-folk, evoking a casual mysticism more refined than her earlier albums.

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Vol 27, No 26
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