Ys

Ys

by Joanna Newsom
4.6 5

CD

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Overview

Ys

Joanna Newsom chose to carve herself a niche -- folk-leaning singer-songwriter armed with a harp -- in which she wouldn't have much competition. It would've been easy for her to loll comfortably in that grotto, but instead she pushes herself significantly on her sophomore set, which displays the flowering of both her songwriting and her arrangements, orchestrated by the legendary Van Dyke Parks. While Ys (pronounced "ease") indicates that Newsom has unabashedly embraced the "bigger is better" philosophy, she never gets lost in the intriguingly intricate mix. Parks doesn't consciously position Newsom's instrument at the fore, but he does help her bring out its nuances -- from the stone-skipping playfulness of "Monkey and Bear" to the foreboding darkness of "Only Skin," a song so redolent of drama that its 17 minutes pass by in a heartbeat. Newsom's vocals, keening and possessed with a birdlike chirp, are well suited to impressionistic lyrics that occasionally veer a bit too far into Renaissance Faire territory. Even when they do, however, Newsom displays a charm so guileless that it's impossible to suggest she's intentionally creating a period piece. Her songs and sound are distinctive and deliriously enchanting.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/14/2006
Label: Drag City
UPC: 0781484030324
catalogNumber: 303
Rank: 47573

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joanna Newsom   Primary Artist,Harp,Leader,Vocals,Pedal Harp
Van Dyke Parks   Accordion,Conductor
Jeff Driskill   Clarinet
Grant Geissman   Electric Guitar
Susan Greenberg   Flute
Don Heffington   Percussion
Peter Kent   Violin,Concert Master
Gina Kronstadt   Violin
Robert O'Donnell   Trumpet
Vladimir Polimatidi   Violin
John Rosenberg   Conductor
Bart Samolis   Bass
Terrence Schonig   Marimbas,Cymbalom
Lee Sklar   Electric Bass
David Stenske   Viola
John Wittenberg   Violin
Shari Zippert   Violin
Matt Cartsonis   Banjo,Mandolin
Edmund Stein   Violin
Bill Callahan   Vocal Harmony
Peter Doubrovsky   Bass
Julie Rogers   Violin
Miriam Mayer   Viola
David R. Stone   Bass
Cameron Patrick   Violin
Marda Todd   Viola
Sharon Jackson   Violin
Briana Bandy   Viola
Caroline Buckman   Viola
John D. Mitchell   Bassoon
Karen Elaine   Viola
Emily Newsom   Vocal Harmony
Patricia Cloud   Flute
Phillip Fethar   Oboe
Peter Nevin   Clarinet
Jessica van Velzen   Viola
Giovanna Moraga Clayton   Cello
Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick   Cello

Technical Credits

Van Dyke Parks   Arranger,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Steve Albini   Engineer,Vocal Engineer
Tim Boyle   Engineer
William T. Stromberg   Copy
Joanna Newsom   Composer,Producer
Benjamin A. Vierling   Paintings

Customer Reviews

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Ys 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best listened with headphones right before bed, this is an album that's unmatched in both beauty and the ability to transport the listener to another place. The arrangements are so impossibly ambitious, that you'll be left wondering when the album will crack. It never does, of course, and is a wonderful display of talent and imagination. Couldn't recommend it more.
alivalentine More than 1 year ago
Joanna Newsom's voice isn't for everyone, but if the thought of a (as one of my friends put it) "drunken-sailor-elfish-wood-nymph" playing the harp intruiges you, please give Newsom a listen. Her vocals are unconventionally beautiful, the lyrics mind-blowing, and the instrumentals breathtaking. A rare bird, Newsom will make you smile if you give her the chance to let you.
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