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Joanna Newsom Is Headlining Her First Shows in 4 Years, Promises to 'Wreak Raptures' on Harp and Piano

The singer-songwriter-harpist will play five shows at Los Angeles' Masonic Lodge.

joanna newsom annabel mehran
Source: Annabel Mehran

Newsom's last album, 'Divers,' was released in 2015.

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More than eight years after her last album, and four years since she last performed a headlining show, on March 11 the ever-idiosyncratic indie singer-songwriter-harpist Joanna Newsom unveiled plans for a mini-residency (or as she terms it, a "reincidence") at Los Angeles' Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The five shows will take place from May 15-20 at the intimate L.A. venue, with one matinee children's performance where tickets will be limited to "kids under 18 (and their keepers)," which a press release promptly qualifies as "a policy as ironclad as it is unenforceable." (The press release really deserves to be read in its entirety, and is included below.)

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joanna newsom
Source: MEGA

Newsom's five dates at Los Angeles' Masonic Lodge will be her first headlining shows since 2020.

Newsom's fourth album, Divers, was released in 2015, and since then the musician has cut a relatively low profile. Though never exactly prolific -- she took four years between her second LP, Ys, and the epic triple album Have One on Me, and five years between that and Divers -- Newsom's long absence has been notable, and she raised considerable expectations back in 2023, when she appeared unannounced to debut five new songs prior to a Fleet Foxes show in Los Angeles. She's also performing at Salt Late City's Kilby Block Party in May.

Acknowledging this particular elephant in the room, the release says: "I know what you’re thinking — we’re all thinking it — what’s in the saddlebag, Newsom? It’s hard to tell from here, but darn if she doesn’t seem to packing some new tunes!"

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As we mentioned, the press release for this residency is a keeper, and seems to have clearly been written by Newsom herself, or at least someone remarkably adept at capturing her very particular tone. Here it is, in full:

"Trill the trumpets! Hoist the flags! Raise the gates of the city! Rip the protective plastic covers off the furniture!

"For lo, Joanna Newsom, balladeer without compeer, Nevada City’s native daughter and Aureate Laureate of these Austral climes, comes riding down the mountain (sidesaddle, natch) to undertake a limited Los Angeles solo residency at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, May 15th through May 19th, 2024!

"Though she rides alone this time, Joanna comes equipped with her usual blistering wind-up double punch to wreak raptures upon harp and piano alike.

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joanna newsom samberg
Source: MEGA

Newsom with her husband, comic Andy Samberg, in 2018.

"I know what you’re thinking — we’re all thinking it — what’s in the saddlebag, Newsom? It’s hard to tell from here, but darn if she doesn’t seem to packing some new tunes! What’s your pleasure? The golden oldies? Perhaps a cover song or two? A 17-minuter for the large-bladdered among us? Over the space of these five nights she’ll sing some, strum some, pluckety plunk some, and probably sonically boggle your noggin. The noggin inside your heart.

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"You should only read this next part if you’re a child, or know one who’s cool: the May 18th show will be a 3:30pm (doors at 2:30) Matinee Performance strictly for kids under 18 (and their keepers), where Mrs. Newsom has promised to forgo the 'blue' material we’ve all come to know (and respect) her for, and instead tailor the setlist to be not only suitable for children, but specifically designed with them in mind. Tickets for this show will only be available for the little ones (and their keepers), a policy as ironclad as it is unenforceable!

"Now as for the rest of the dates, old timer — mark them on your calendar, tattoo them on your forehead, brand them on the back of your wizened hands, but remember — only a ticket will get you in the door.

"What side of history do you want to be on? The underside? The wet part? The index? The table of contents? Or the future of music? We think the answer, like God’s grace, speaks for herself."

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