Few artists have crafted a niche for themselves quite like Josephine Foster. The Colorado-based former funeral and wedding singer has sung Brahms and Schubert, interpreted poetry by Emily Dickinson, Rudyard Kipling and James Joyce and reimagined Spanish folk songs. She uses distinctive instrumentation – guitar, piano, organ, harp and autoharp – but really her vast oeuvre is all about her unmistakable voice. Dreamy, sometimes close to operatic, it dives and soars like a swallow as – although an acquired taste – it draws you in to an ethereal otherworld, where her language (“tend to thee”, “confirm the truth of these words pious”) adds to an olde worlde, almost 19th-century feel.
Her ninth album is a four-part double, consisting of 18 of her own compositions. With occasional guests on drums, pedal steel and such, the songs mix nature references and a spiritual bent as prayers for the dying and musings on mortality accompany more humorous dialogue with a mysterious Lord of Love. She turns children’s fortune teller in Soothsayer Song, uses a wintry white landscape as a metaphor for hope in The Virgin of the Snow, and is amusingly infatuated in All Pales Next to You (“I get carried away … Off my rocker I do rock”). She’s at her most arresting in A Little Song, where her piano echoes John Cale’s version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and her exquisite idyll is gradually penetrated by an industrial noise, perhaps a signifier of harsher truths or realities – or the modern world.Continue reading...
Fri Nov 16 10:30:00 CET 2018