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This Coming Gladness

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Album Review

Josephine Foster's follow-up to the delightfully antiquated A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing comes back to the kind of folk she established on Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You… and to the English language. This Coming Gladness is her best effort to date and deserves top grades in every aspect: songwriting, production, and that voice, so uncannily like Joan Baez, and yet so unlike her. Foster plays a little harp this time, along with acoustic guitar and piano. She is accompanied by drummer Alex Nielson and guitarist Victor Herrero, whose acidic, occasionally atonal leads provide a factor of contemporaneity and disturbance. Songs like "Second Sight," "Lullaby to All," and the exquisite "Garden of Earthly Delights" have a winning timeless quality. This album also highlights the parallel existing between Foster and Joanna Newsom. They both approach folk songwriting from an askew, almost outsider angle, thriving for a form of beauty both naive (almost childlike in Newsom's case) and extremely sophisticated. However, bearing in mind both singers are roughly the same age, if Newsom's voice is that of a little girl, Foster's projects the image of an elderly, experienced woman (or a singer from the first half of the last century). Foster is learning to control and pace the idiosyncrasies of her voice, turning it into a weapon of mass seduction. Yet, her arrangements are so deceptive (archaic yet off-kilter) that this album could never cross over to the mainstream. As far as the underground or alternative circuit is concerned, This Coming Gladness is the best folk songstress album to come out since Joanna Newsom's Ys. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: Colorado

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

As a teen, Colorado-born singer/songwriter/guitarist Josephine Foster honed her vocal skills at weddings and funerals. Her initial career aspirations leaned toward opera, but as she neared her twenties it was the music of Tin Pan Alley and early British folk that became her muse, resulting in a series of demos that would eventually morph into 2000's ukulele-heavy There Are Eyes Above and 2001's collection of children's songs entitled Little Life. She eventually relocated to Chicago, where she spent...
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