Sharon Van Etten

"I Don't Want To Let You Down" (Jagjaguwar)

Contact Jessica Linker about Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten has never needed much room to make a grand statement. With four albums diligently released during the last six years, she’s become one of music’s most astute new cartographers of the heart, able to capture emotional trials and triumphs with incisive lines and a voice that loses nothing in the translation and transmission of feelings. Her second record, epic, needed only seven tracks to live up to its title. Her subsequent albums for Jagjaguwar, 2012’s Tramp and last year’s Are We There, went longer, but Van Etten managed still to squeeze enormous sentiments into especially small spaces. From start to rising stardom, Van Etten has forever understood the impact of economy.

 

It should come as no surprise, then, that Van Etten’s forthcoming five-song EP, “I Don’t Want to Let You Down,” functions as much more than some between-albums, on-tour stopgap. In only 22 minutes, Van Etten offers documents of surrender and disappointment, admission and longing. The songs are as sophisticated and evolved as anything Van Etten has ever done. Produced by Van Etten and Are We There producing partner Stewart Lerman, the EP features a sterling crew of collaborators: Heather Woods Broderick (keyboards, strings, vocals), Doug Keith (guitar), Zeke Hutchins (drums), Brad Cook (bass), Darren Jesse (drums), Peter Broderick (strings), Stuart Bogie (woodwinds), and The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel (guitar) and Dave Hartley (bass).  

 

The EP culminates with a live rendition of “Tell Me,” captured last December at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre Del Liceu. The song, a Van Etten gem about yearning for affections that may never be reciprocated, had previously been available only on an expanded edition of Tramp. That acoustic demo remains intimate and wonderful, a showcase for the remarkable candor of Van Etten’s voice. But backed here by her four-piece touring band, the tune becomes a kind of battle cry for respect and a charged pronouncement of Van Etten’s cultivated powers. It’s a map of the singer’s progression from an acoustic songwriter to a bona fide bandleader, a reminder of the poignancy and efficiency her work has long paired.

 

Sharon Van Etten’s “I Don’t Want To Let You Down” EP is out June 9th on Jagjaguwar and available for pre-order now. An instant free download of the title track, debuted in January on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, comes with each digital pre-order. Surrounding the release of the EP, Van Etten will play select festivals and tour South America. Additionally, Van Etten is a featured artist, alongside Patty Griffin, Julia Holter, Lucinda Williams, Marissa Nadler, Laurel Halo and more, on Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs By Karen Dalton, out May 26th on Tompkins Square.

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