Joanna Newsom’s quirky folk sound is an acquired taste, but her new album, “Divers,” may be the best introduction yet to her dense music. Newsom plays the Paramount Theatre on Tuesday, March 29.
There’s really no artist quite like Joanna Newsom, the virtuosic harpist-singer-storyteller spinning her cinematic yarns Tuesday (March 29) at the Paramount Theatre.
Coming up in the early 2000s as part of a loose-knit scene dubbed “freak-folk,” Newsom long ago transcended that obscure subgenre. The Nevada City, Calif., native’s latest, “Divers,” is her fourth widely acclaimed set of songs, and her second produced by punk maven Steve Albini.
“Divers” has more in common with fantasy novels and classical suites than the music of conventional rock bands, with its intricate harp-and-piano-based arrangements, wealth of strings, brass and woodwinds, and lyrics couching universal themes — time, family, life, death. The 33-year-old’s quirky, youthful lilt — part Kate Bush, part Lisa Simpson — will always be an acquired taste. But this streamlined 11-track album may be the best entry point yet for those who have been intimidated before.
An outspoken critic of audio streaming services and a nonparticipant in social media, Newsom trusts her fans to take in her records as she meant them to be heard — on a turntable, in their entirety. And they’ve reciprocated. In its first seven days, “Divers” sold 3,000 copies on vinyl alone, bested that week in that format only by Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Tuesday marks Newsom’s first Seattle show in six years. Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold opens.
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7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $30-$40 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).