Some of us are shielded from the elements by unusually soft armor. This is what we imagined while listening to Sharon Van Etten’s records, and something we confirmed one autumn evening in Paris when we finally met her. How else could a woman who had amassed so much pain and uncertainty – with the ability to convey such feelings with sensitivity and rawness through songs of magnificent candor – stay so lighthearted, without ever giving into the temptation to overplay the wounds?
Sharon Van Etten recently released her third album, Tramp. Powerful, sometimes tempestuous, it is of a refreshing scale, as if she finally gave to her songs the support and consequence they deserved. Without ever overstating, she asserts herself. We listened to her a couple days before she came, and we didn’t expect to see a young girl so amiable and timid.
She came to us with a light set-up. Heather, to complement her voice, and an acoustic guitar. She went through her songs unequivocally, stripping away roughness to adorn velvet songs of pain.