Norah Jones teamed up with Sharon Van Etten for, “Seventeen” which is done in a much slower and deeper fashion. The tempo and vocals are stretched out in a purposeful fashion. Van Etten and Jones take turns on each of the verses. The video done last year, reflected a teenage and older version of Van Etten in New York City, showcasing the growth over the span of 20 years. With lyrics like, “I used to be seventeen, now you’re a hot-shot, hanging on my block, sun coming up, who is my shadow.” Van Etten comes in with her poetic and harmonizing voice, while Jones comes through with her soothing and unmistakable vocals. “Seventeen” is from Van Etten’s album, Remind Me Tomorrow and according to her website began as a Lucinda Williams-esque dirge, but wound up more of a nod to Bruce Springsteen, exploring gentrification and generational patience.
Two of the greatest female vocalists, together on a new version of this track, truly knock it out of the park with a song that brings back memories of a woman’s evolution. In an article from Stereogum, Van Etten calls the track a “country version.” The new version was recorded for Amazon, figures into Departure, director Josh Goleman’s new short documentary on Van Etten. She has been living in New York for the past 15 years, but now moving out. The documentary captures her last few days in New York. The documentary also made for Amazon, features Van Etten remembering her years in the city, hanging out with her kid, playing a goodbye show at Webster Hall with surprise guest Jones, and recording that new take on “Seventeen” with Jones on her final day in New York.
Van Etten recently released a multitude of new cover songs, in honor of The Alzheimer’s Association, new benefit album, Music Moments. Van Etten covers Lucinda Williams’ “If My Love Could Kill”, Jason Isbell (John Prine’s “Hello in There”), Nile Rodgers & CHIC (“Hey Jude”), and many more. According to Pitchfork, Etten chose to cover Lucinda Williams in tribute to her mother. She also released a new track, “Staring At A Mountain,” taken from the film Never Rarely Sometimes Always.
Last year, she released Remind Me Tomorrow and the songs are described to have been transported from Van Etten’s original demos through John Congleton’s arrangement. Van Etten shared the following, “I was feeling overwhelmed. I couldn’t let go of my recordings. I needed to step back and work with a producer. I tracked two songs as a trial run with John (‘Jupiter 4’ and ‘Memorial Day’). I gave him Suicide, Portishead, and Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree as references and he got excited. I knew we had to work together. It gave me the perspective I needed. It’s going to be challenging for people in a good way.”
Van Etten has recently postponed her April 2020 shows in Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and Georgia. As of now, her shows in May are still on track. In regards to her music, Van Etten shares, “I’ve always been a fan of the slow build, whether it be with my career, or my songs, or life.”
Photo Credit: Kalyn Oyer