Though my cold, black heart rarely stirs for the work of singer-songwriters, the voice of Sharon Van Etten always turns me into a weepy, vulnerable heap. If you listen closely to this gorgeous Tiny Desk performance she gave with her musical partner, Cat Martino, you can hear the sound of my eyelashes fluttering with misty delight.
I first heard Van Etten's music when TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone played it on his Guest DJ set for All Songs Considered. He said she'd approached him at one of his shows and given him a CD of her songs. And while Malone normally doesn't have time to listen to fan submissions, he put Van Etten's album on and fell in love. "She just sends me," he said.
She sends me, too, particularly when she performs live. The first time I saw her, with NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, at a SXSW show this past March, we were only a few minutes into her set when the tears started welling up. I passed Stephen a note that read, "I can't recall hearing anything more beautiful in all my life." Sharon Van Etten is simply one of the most beguiling artists I've ever seen or heard.
You can see and hear as much in this lovely performance she gave at the NPR Music offices late this past summer. She's currently on tour to support her latest album, Epic.