Sharon Van Etten's raspy, elegant vocals and deeply confessional folk-rock have made her a rising star. Ever since her official debut in 2009, the heart-breakingly intimate Because I Was In Love, Van Etten has been expanding her sound and adding grit to her delivery.
Like most pop singers, Sharon Van Etten seems to love repetition — a technique used aggressively in ad jingles and Top 40 hits, but also in more hypnotic and emotionally complicated ways. Van Etten's new record, Tramp, is full of repeated riffs, drones and phonemes, and they're more intense and emotionally packed than ever. Songs like "Serpents" display her expansive voice and coiled songwriting, and are earning Van Etten a good deal of attention.
Intimate and hushed, Sharon Van Etten's folk tunes tend to quiet any room she plays them in. These are the type of nuanced songs that can render a crowd breathless.
Van Etten was introduced to an eclectic blend of folk and rock 'n' roll while growing up in Nashville. She worked her way to Brooklyn, and after a national tour in support of her debut album, Because I Was In Love, she turned to Epic, a seven-song LP that was one of NPR Music's favorite records of 2010.
Though my cold, black heart rarely stirs for the work of singer-songwriters, the voice of Sharon Van Etten always turns me into a weepy, vulnerable heap. If you listen closely to this gorgeous Tiny Desk performance she gave with her musical partner, Cat Martino, you can hear the sound of my eyelashes fluttering with misty delight.