Sharon Van Etten’s move from introverted folkie to self-assured front-woman is nearly complete. The 31-year-old New Jersey native’s first two albums — 2009’s Because I Was In Love and 2010’s epic — revealed an emotionally visceral songwriter and performer who wasn’t afraid to explore love gone sour via a voice that’s as moving and expressive as any on the current landscape.
Released earlier this year and recorded with the help of The National’s Aaron Dessner, Tramps represents a leap forward in almost every way, marking not only Van Etten’s use of a more expansive sonic palette but also her ability to deliver a more dynamic live show, complete with a full band.
“After epic I toured for a while with the band for the first time and I started playing electric guitar a lot more often and I started writing a little more aggressively,” Van Etten said in a phone interview earlier this year about her shift to a bigger, more diverse sound. “I had toured so much at that point, I just felt really confident in my music and I was finally feeling like I could do this. I keep getting more and more secure with who I am and in my writing.”
If Tramps and its resulting tour are any indication (Van Etten’s set was a highlight of this year’s Lollapalooza), security has rarely been as fruitful.
SHARON VAN ETTEN performs Thursday, Nov. 8 downtown in the Ballroom at the Taft Theatre with Damien Jurado. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.