Sharon Van Etten will perform live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) at 3 p.m. Friday, April 1. As always, this Record Exchange in-store performance is free and all ages. She’s also performing at Neurolux that night and we have tickets for sale here at the store.


Sharon Van Etten ( came to Brooklyn via Jersey via Tennessee via Jersey. Along the way, she sang in choirs, rejected her school’s music program, worked at an all-ages venue, trained as a sommelier and got a full time job at a record label. She also had some bad experiences in relationships.

OK, more than some.

epic, Van Etten’s second album, lays a romantic melancholy lining over the gravel and dirt of heartbreak, without one honest thought or feeling spared. She sings of betrayal, obsession, egotism and all the other emotions we hate in others and recognize in ourselves. Yet, Van Etten’s grounded and clenched vocals convey the sense of hope – the notion that beauty can come out of the worst of circumstances. epic is indeed that beauty.

The album was recorded at Miner Street Studios in Philadelphia with Brian McTear. Where Van Etten’s first record, Because I Was In Love, explored her thoughts on love through minimalism and sparseness, epic embellishes her music to grandiose luminosity. Guitar and singing are joined by drums, piano, lap steel and a trio of backing vocalists: Meg Baird (Espers), Cat Martino and Jessica Larrabee (She Keeps Bees). The result is a fully realized album that astounds as it elucidates, disturbs as it soothes.  The final track, “Love More,” has already been covered live in a collaborative effort between Sharon fans Bon Iver and The National.

A few things need to be made clear about SVE’s music. She’s not the type of “female singer/songwriter” who champions women-centric perspectives and denies personal accountability. Nor is she a strident provocateur. Rather, Van Etten is a performer who fully embraces her femininity while confidently expressing it through intelligent and mature perspectives on relationships. Those turned off by the provincialism of other performers will be pleased that you can identify with Van Etten’s incisive and universal observations about love and loss.

Since her last album, Sharon Van Etten has sung on The Antlers’ Hospice and performed with them at Radio City Music Hall, sung improv on the Mike Reed Trio’s upcoming album, recorded backup vocals for Swedish popstar Anna Ternheim, appeared on the compilation with the recent issue of Esopus, collaborated with Megafaun (check YouTube!), will be on a soundtrack for the film The Builder along with Bon Iver and Phosphorescent, and has a seven-inch coming out this summer on Polyvinyl. After years of playing repeatedly around the New York scene, Van Etten is preparing for a series of tours that will take her through Europe and the United States. A full band will be realizing epic live.


“‘Love More’ stuns on its own terms, but what’s better — and entirely appropriate, given the song’s overarching theme of the deliverance possible in perseverance — is the way it teases of the music Van Etten might now make. It proves that she deserves our patience.”

— Grayson Currin, Pitchfork

“Whether your tastes run to Sixties folkies Sandy Denny or Joan Baez, the pointillist intensity of Low or the elegant string-laden art-rock of The Velvet Underground and Nico, seek out Sharon Van Etten.”

— Anders Smith Lindall, Chicago Sun-Times

“She is alone except for her electric guitar and she looks tiny amid the vast setting . . . But, wow, what songs. Her butterfly voice floats over — take your pick — hypnotic/repetitive/trancy guitar strumming. She’s not attempting more than a few chords per song. But the effect is mesmerizing. She writes about broken relationships – an old, perhaps hackneyed subject — with switchblade insight . . . The voice is direct, unvarnished, the sound of truth. ‘First day, first act, oh, my God … I feel like I have something to prove,’ she says with disarming frankness. Mission accomplished.”

— Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

“I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with Sharon Van Etten.”

— Tom Ravenscroft, NME

“Despite a solo presentation, Van Etten’s heartstring plucking and Twee twang were aplenty and nailed the history of her Nashville upbringing. A sleeper hit of the day, Van Etten’s set was like the juicy start of a chapter book — far before the plot and action were given a chance to thicken.”

— Selena Fragassi, VenusZine

“Performing solo, opener Sharon Van Etten didn’t need the monster sound system, but with it the Brooklyn-based singer-guitarist’s sobering yet captivating folk was as bright as the blazing sun, offset mildly by the slight breeze wafting through the impressive crowd of early birds helping to kick off this year’s indie survey.”

— Areif Sless-Kitain, Time Out Chicago

“It’s remarkable that even massively amplified in the outdoors, her gorgeous voice was able to sound so intimate. She may not have had the same name recognition as some of the others in the lineup, but hopefully for the festival early birds, she’ll have been a welcome discovery.”

— Frank Yang, Chromewaves

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