Freak-folk superstar Joanna Newsom comes to Thalia Hall on her first tour in three years | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Freak-folk superstar Joanna Newsom comes to Thalia Hall on her first tour in three years 

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click to enlarge Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom

Annabel Mehran

Ever since her 2004 debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, singer, composer, and harpist Joanna Newsom has been one of those artists where you either get it or you don’t. Her eccentric, literary lyrics are eminently quotable, and the fey changeability of her music makes it hard to pin down stylistically. Though she’s only produced four albums in 15 years, by the time she put out 2015’s Divers (Drag City) she’d developed a sizable audience. It’s an artisan’s record, with ambitious songwriting and intricately structured arrangements that have been painstakingly built from the ground up. Newsom took a hiatus after she and her husband, actor and comedian Andy Samberg, had a daughter in 2017, but now she’s slipping back into the spotlight as quietly as a freak-folk superstar can. For her first tour in three years, called the Strings/Keys Incident (yes, that’s a punny nod to jam band String Cheese Incident), Newsom will fly without a safety net, forgoing a band to perform solo on harp and piano.   v

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