Sharon Van Etten's 'Tramp': The Sounds of a Singer Trying to Love Again
Sharon Van Etten is boiling water to make a cup of tea in her New York apartment. Normally, this wouldn't be of note, except for the fact that she hasn't had a place to call her own in over a year. Since the release of her sophomore album, 'Epic,' Van Etten spent her life on the run: Darting overseas, zagging across state lines, trying to make sense of an incredibly raw breakup while sleeping over the moving wheels of a touring van.
Coming back to New York, Van Etten had nowhere to go. She couch-surfed around the city before hearing from the National's guitarist Aaron Dessner, who wanted to record the songwriter's newest work. Hunkering down in his backyard studio, the pair began building Van Etten's third full-length, 'Tramp,' a testament to the road-weary singer's past year and a reflection on a love badly spent. With what she calls "a bit of separation and understanding," Van Etten has finally walked away from a mysteriously traumatic past and embraced her bright future.
Spinner spoke with the up-and-coming singer about her Jagjaguar debut, which is out now, her Charlie Chaplin-like sense of humor and whether or not she's all right.
How did you end up working with Aaron on 'Tramp'?
While I was on tour with Megafaun, [guitarist] Brad Cook woke me up to show me a video of [Bon Iver's] Justin Vernon, Aaron and Bryce [Dessner] covering my song 'Love More' at the Cincinnati Music Now festival. I was blown away, because how the hell do they know who I am?
At the end of that tour, I was getting ready to record the album 'Epic' that 'Love More' ended up being on. I decided to write them all, to see