Since hitting the scene in 2009, singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten has been grabbing listeners with her beautifully haunting vocals and heartfelt lyrics.
With her debut, Because I Was In Love, the New Jersey-born, Tennessee-educated Brooklyn transplant began her ascent from timid folk singer to confident balladeer.
The songs on that first album were all sung in a very somber, melancholic tone and reflected on destructive past relationships.
The following year, she released, epic, which showcased a new, brave voice and bolder lyrics. The vocals were still haunting, but the sorrowful tone started to give way to empowerment.
The standout tracks include “Don’t Do It”, “Save Yourself” and “One Day”.
It was around this time that Van Etten developed a connection with boroughmates The National, touring with them in Europe and opening some shows in the U.S. They also collaborated on an original song — “Think You Can Wait” — for the soundtrack for the film, Win Win.
She began recording her next album in the garage studio of The National’s Aaron Dessner. And after several months, she released Tramp in February of this year to much critical acclaim.
Sonically, it’s the next step in Van Etten’s evolution. She continues to grow more confident with her voice and lyrics, and the songs themselves are more layered.
Adding to the complexity of the album were the contributions she received from such friends as Matt Barrick (Walkmen), Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), Zach Condon (Beirut), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), Julianna Barwick and Dessner himself.
The album is her best to date, with such strong tracks as “Serpents”, “Leonard”, “We Are Fine” and “Magic Chords”. It’ll be interesting to see how Van Etten continues to develop from here.