Guest Lists: Joanna Newsom, Pitchfork, June 2007
Each week, we ask one of our favorite artists to fill us in on what they’ve been up to lately: which tracks they can’t stop spinning, what books they can’t put down, and what new bands they’ve caught on tour. This week it’s Joanna Newsom, who professes her love for Lindsey Buckingham, admits which retro cable channel gets her undivided attention, and explains how Willie Nelson encourages her to answer the phone.
Favorite Songs of the Past Year
Lindsey Buckingham: “Shut Us Down”
I love him.
Meg Baird: “The Waltz of the Tennis Players”
It’s a gorgeous cover of a gorgeous Fraser and Debolt song. I love her voice so much.
Macromantics: “Moments in Movement”
The whole record is amazing, but my favorite song is the title track. Either that or Apple Crumble. My sister and I drove around doing errands yesterday and hollering along to, like, every third word on this album. That’s all we could manage ‘cos Romy, the singer, goes so fast.
Bill Callahan: “Taken”
A gorgeous B-side from the “Diamond Dancer” single.
Alasdair Roberts: “Firewater (Library of Aethers)”
Ned Collete: “Blame”
Sinead O’Connor: “Jah Nuh Dead”
Bonnie “Prince” Billy: “Strange Form of Life”
Favorite Older Songs at the Moment *
The Zombies: “This Will Be Our Year”, Harry Nilsson: “Gotta Get Up”, Junior Murvin: “Roots Train”, The Band: “Acadian Driftwood”, Graham Nash: “Better Days”, Bruce Molsky: “I Truly Understand”, Rickie Lee Jones: “Young Blood”, Jerry Jeff Walker: “I Love You”, Lindsay Buckingham: “Bwana”, Josephine Foster: “Well-Heeled Man”
* I love these all equally much.
Favorite New Band
Ra Ra Rabbit are great.
Favorite Song Ever
It’s a three-way tie between ‘Me and My Woman’ by Roy Harper, ‘I Told Jesus’ by Roberta Flack, and ‘I Think It’s Going to Rain Today’ by Randy Newman.
Best Recent Concert
I love me some Moore Brothers live. They harmonize so gorgeously. I just saw them the other night here in town. My friend Allison kept screaming funny things like “Greg Moore, you are DEAD to me!!!” and pointing at them and dragging her finger across her throat. They were so good she didn’t know what to do with herself, was the thing. She didn’t mean any harm. Oh, also I saw a great big brass band in Japan last year called Mitamurakandadan? Awesome!!!
Last Great Film I Saw
Rocky Balboa is best. I also love Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore , which my friend Kevin made me watch on the bus last fall.
Last Great Book I Read
Cormac McCarthy: The Road
Ian MacDonald: Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties
The Road was the best fiction book I’ve read recently. Revolution in the Head by Ian MacDonald was the best nonfiction.
Favorite Piece of Musical Equipment
I love my barcus-berry harp pickup.
Favorite Record Shop
After the Gold Rush Records, in Nevada City, Calif. I got a whole pile of records there last time: a Tom T. Hall Record; Loose by Crazy Horse; the soundtrack to Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (by Bob Dylan); a dub remix of “Cover Me” by Bruce Springsteen; Wild Tales by Graham Nash; a Sugar Minott record, Showcase ; Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger ; Prince Far I’s Silver & Gold: 1973-1975 ; Tres Hombres by ZZ Top; a Boney M side, “Kalimba de Luna”; a weird/great Paul Williams record, Here Comes Inspiration, which actually has a song on it called “Nilsson Sings Newman” (!!!!); two medieval, renaissance, and baroque recorder ensemble albums; a Levon Helm solo record; and some Laura Nyro records ‘cos people keep telling me she’s great.
Best Purchase of the Past Year
I love it so much. There’s, like, 20 rosebushes blooming right now, all different colors, and jasmine and irises and peonies, and two cherry trees, one bing cherry and one little pie-cherry tree, with lots of fruit on both of them. And a big backyard.
Best Thing I Did This Year
I went on an insane horseback ride in an estancia at the edge of a glacier in Patagonia. Me and my dad and some other folks and some actual gauchos. I had a good 10-minute gallop at the end that I’ll remember till the day I die.
Red Rocks, Denver
It’s so gorgeous, just carved into the side of a red mountain. And I guess I have this weird fascination with anything that has to do with the old Civilian Conservation Corps and the Work Projects Administration from the 20s and it’s just so romantic, this idea of the US government funding these sort of artistically decadent and culturally idealistic projects in an effort to provide jobs and buoy the economy. And the old photos backstage at the venue were amazing. a bunch of grizzled depression-era dudes dangling from ropes and balancing on girders and grinning proudly and risking life and limb to construct a suitable place for, like, Widespread Panic and Ratdog to play four sold-out nights in a row, eighty years later. Cuckoo.
Favorite TV Show at the Moment
I actually just bought my first television ever and got cable and everything. But so far I only ever seem to end up watching VH1 Classic.
Favorite Radio Show
I don’t listen to the radio very often but if I do it’ll just be tuned to our local community station, KVMR. They play good world music a lot of the time. And in the summertime they’ll broadcast stuff live, like the bluegrass festival and the Celtic festival at the fairgrounds.
‘Always on My Mind’ by Willie Nelson.
I downloaded it and everything. I got really motivated to work it out so that my phone didn’t make an awful noise when people called me, because I already have this problem with not picking up my phone; even in the best of times. So I was hoping to kind of ease myself into the phone-picking-up thing, you know, sweeten the deal with a nice song. But before that, for the longest while, it was a standard ringtone called ‘Mellow Sorrow’ which I chose because I thought the name was hilarious. But then I got really bummed out super fast, and it stopped being funny and I didn’t know what to do. It’s the worst song in the world. You just feel crestfallen when you hear it.