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Sharon Van Etten: Show Preview 

Wednesday, Nov 10 2010

The title of Epic, Sharon Van Etten's latest record, belies how intimate an experience it is. The New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based songwriter's self-avowed "sad prairie music" is all about smoldering anguish. Her 2009 debut, Because I Was in Love, stemmed from a relationship that went sour in Tennessee, and Epic's autumnal alt-country and breathy vocals mine similar sentiment. "Don't you think I know/You're only trying to save yourself?" she sings on "Save Yourself," before drawing a particularly despondent sketch on "Love More": "Chained to the wall of our room/Yeah, you chained me like a dog in our room/I thought that's how it was/I thought that we were fine." She has aptly identified Joan Baez as an influence, even if Baez is far more furtive. Van Etten isn't about earth-shattering revelations; instead, her restrained ballads deliver only slivers of detail at a time.

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Reyan Ali

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