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Joanna Newsom Announces Intimate Solo Concerts in Los Angeles

Singer-songwriter-harpist and indie icon Joanna Newsom, who has kept a low profile since the tour supporting her 2015 album “Divers,” has announced a five-night solo residency in Los Angeles. Billed as the “Strings/Keys Incidence,” the shows will take place at the intimate Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever from May 15-19. One of the shows is a matinee.

The humorously worded announcement promises that new material will be performed: “I know what you’re thinking — we’re all thinking it — What’s in the saddlebag, Newsom?,” it reads. “It’s hard to tell from here, but darn if she doesn’t seem to packing some new tunes!” (The full announcement and dates are pasted below.)

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Newsom premiered five new songs in an unannounced one-off performance opening for Fleet Foxes just under a year ago.

The May concerts — and, presumably, the ensuing album — arrive 20 years after Newsom first rose to prominence rapidly amid the “freak folk” scene of the early ’00s, touring with leading artists in the movement like Devendra Banhardt and Vetiver. While her sound on her 2004 debut album, “The Milk Eyed Mender,” was sympathetic with those artists and contains folk elements, she is an outlier, often accompanying her unconventional songs and Kate Bush-like high soprano on harp. The album was an unexpected commercial success, selling more than 200,000 copies in the U.S.

She followed two years later with “Ys,” which featured full orchestrations by legendary ‘60s musician and Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks and a cover painting of the singer in full medieval dress, poking fun at the caricatures that emerged from her harp-playing. In 2010 she released the sprawling two-hour “Have One on Me” album, and began branching into acting, appearing on the TV series “Portlandia” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice.” She married comedian Andy Samberg in 2013; the couple have two children.

The announcement follows in full:

THE STRINGS/KEYS REINCIDENCE

Trill the trumpets!

Hoist the flags!

Raise the gates of the city!

Rip the protective plastic covers off the furniture!

For lo, Joanna Newsom, balladeer without compeer, Nevada City’s native daughter and Aureate Laureate of these Austral climes, comes riding down the mountain (sidesaddle, natch) to undertake a limited Los Angeles solo residency at The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, May 15th through May 19th, 2024! 

Though she rides alone this time, Joanna comes equipped with her usual blistering wind-up double punch to wreak raptures upon harp and piano alike.

I know what you’re thinking — we’re all thinking it — What’s in the saddlebag, Newsom? It’s hard to tell from here, but darn if she doesn’t seem to packing some new tunes! What’s your pleasure? The golden oldies? Perhaps a cover song or two? A 17-minuter for the large-bladdered among us? Over the space of these five nights she’ll sing some, strum some, pluckety plunk some, and probably sonically boggle your noggin. The noggin inside your heart.

You should only read this next part if you’re a child, or know one who’s cool: the May 18th show will be a 3:30pm (doors at 2:30) Matinee Performance strictly for kids under 18 (and their keepers), where Mrs. Newsom has promised to forgo the “blue” material we’ve all come to know (and respect) her for, and instead tailor the setlist to be not only suitable for children, but specifically designed with them in mind. Tickets for this show will only be available for the little ones (and their keepers), a policy as ironclad as it is unenforceable!

Now as for the rest of the dates, old timer — mark them on your calendar, tattoo them on your forehead, brand them on the back of your wizened hands, but remember — only a ticket will get you in the door.

What side of history do you want to be on? The underside? The wet part? The index? The table of contents? Or the future of music? We think the answer, like God’s grace, speaks for herself.

Joanna Newsom L.A. Residency Dates:

5/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

5/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

5/17 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

5/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever^

5/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

^Matinee Show

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