Sprout and the Bean singleEdit
Label: Drag City
Why in the world we’re getting the “Sprout and the Bean” single now after having it already come out (with a video to boot, included here for your convenience) as the leadoff single to “The Milk-Eyed Member” from last year and taking off with rave reviews from most corners of the press willing enough to endure the “challenging” vocal style of Ms. Newsom is baffling in the least. Whatever, here’s to making this review as long as possible with just ten minutes of music to work with: Newsom’s Drag City debut was a revelation and “Sprout and the Bean” was one of the finer tracks on the album (though to say any of them were terrible would be lying); the second track here is a previously unreleased harp scorcher, “What We Have Known.” You can really hear the vicious plucking in this second one and her vocals are demixed a little bit from what would’ve been an album version. Certainly, there’s little to choose between an a-side and a b-side for Joanna Newsom, but the fact of the matter remains that she’s a talented songstress with a most unique niche carved out in the ever-evolving landscape of modern folk.