“A beguiling listen from start to finish; a heartfelt, romantic, fuzzy, ethereal and beautiful, right down to the most abrupt of endings… It sends a shiver down the spine every time.” – UK Times on album opener ‘I Wish I Knew’
because I was in love is the full length debut from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten. The album was recorded at Language of Stone co-owner Greg Weeks’ Hexham Head studios in Philadelphia with Weeks producing and is being released on Language of Stone.
Choosing to keep the accompaniment to a minimum, the songs are simple and understated, a wonderfully unique addition to the canon of folk love songs. To quote a December review, “Sharon will probably be grouped alongside Cat Power, Leona Naess & Rachael Yamagata in forthcoming reviews, but in all honesty she truly resonates an immediacy that far surpasses all of the aforementioned artists” (The Music Slut). We couldn’t agree more.
Sharon Van Etten is Jersey-born, Tennessee-raised, and currently resides in Brooklyn. She grew up playing anything put in front of her: piano, violin, clairinet, and later, joined every choir she could. After being in every musical she auditioned for as a teenager, she decided to start writing her own songs, and began performing live upon moving back to the east coast. There, she started finding her own voice and began her grass-roots style music.
When Sharon began recording she preferred using her first takes on her very lo-fi setup, creating a beautifully private aesthetic that has been described as reading over someone’s shoulder as they write in their journal. “It is important to me to keep everything personal,” says Sharon, “I would like people to know I am singing to them and for them. that I know how they feel.” Crafting hand-made EP’s for her first shows (fashioned from hand cut stencils, recycled paper bags from her liquor store job, and paint) Sharon made it a point to always have a new design and a new set of songs. She also released one much sought after lathe-cut EP as an extremely limited edition of 100 through Abaton Book Company. Soon, she had more than enough to a full length release filled with beautiful, heartbreakingly understated folk. Sharon’s music has been described as:
“so therapeutic with its unyielding beauty it has often stopped me dead in my tracks.” – ItCoverstheHillsides April 2008
“With these tunes she is letting me into her living room, raw and poignant, safe and secure, her space, away from it all. Most people write music to hide behind it and a very few brave souls write it and lay it all out there. She bares it all, a beautiful blemished and slightly sweetened reality. Full-on bare your soul solace songwriting up there with the best of some of who we have featured before, Bosque Brown, Essie Jain, Sergius Gregory. To be perfectly honest, I feel a bit guilty writing this, like I am sharing a secret she only told me.” – Red Sea Station, November 2007
“Sharon’s silky, melancholy vocals weep over loose acoustic strumming, imperfect yet immaculate, lonesome yet soothing.” – Rcrdlbl.com, November 2008
“Sharon will probably be grouped alongside Cat Power, Leona Naess & Rachael Yamagata in forthcoming reviews, but in all honesty she truly resonates an immediacy that far surpasses all of the aforementioned artists.” – TheMusicSlut, December 2008
“While it’s true that I Wish I Knew is tinged with enough melancholy to reduce even Chuck Norris to tears, it also fills the heart with starlight and gives hope to music fans everywhere because it proves that there are still proper musicians and artists out there and that the cynical, overexposed, bland, ostentatious and heinously rubbish reality shows that clog up television schedules haven’t quite won the battle yet.” – Stuart Andseron, UK Times, December 2008
In the beginning of 2008, Sharon provided UK tour support for Meg Baird (of Espers) in what would prove to be the most pivotal and inspirational time of her young career. During the tour, Sharon was introduced to Greg Weeks, owner of the Philadelphia based Hexham Head recording studio, and after hearing some of her songs, Weeks jumped at the opportunity to work with her. The success of their collaboration in the studio convinced Sharon to release the album on his label, Language of Stone.
Sharon has played with the likes of : Kyp Malone (tv on the radio), Alden Penner (the unicorns), The Delta Spirit, Port O’Brien, The Finches, Bird by Snow, Wildbirds & Peacedrums (leaf label), Peasant, Miles Robinson (as well as contributed vocals for his record), Picastro (polyvinyl), Peter &the Wolf, W-S Burn, Matt Bauer, The Shaky Hands, Matt Gangi, Haley Bonar, Cat Martino, Marla Hansen, Beat the Devil, the Subjects, Scott Mou (collaborates w/ Panda Bear), Matteah Baim, Jana Hunter, Wye Oak, PWRFL PWR, Phosphorescent, Bowerbirds.