Sunday, February 15, 2015


Recently a usually laconic Bob Dylan spoke at length at a benefit for the MusiCares Foundation. Of the range of topics covered, Dylan alighted on the years of criticism his voice has received, wondering why the likes of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen get spared, while time and time again he gets dragged over the coals. "Sam Cooke said this when told he had a beautiful voice," Dylan related. "He said, 'Well that's very kind of you, but voices out not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth." In these terms, I believe everything Jessica Pratt sings.

27 years old, Pratt has a spacey warble and a fingerpicking style that can't help but evoke trippy 60s folk, but there's a darkness and a weight to Pratt's delivery that soon dispels the images of flower stickers on acoustic guitars. If there's a folk comparison I'd hazard make, it would be to Karen Dalton, whose queer, soulful delivery always feels like a direct, obvious result of the songs themselves. Like Dalton, Pratt pairs her material with her delivery so deftly on On Your Own Love Again that the split disappears. The competing weight or lightness of her voice vacillates along with the performance, with the content, in such a casual way that the result, for as complicated as it actually is, feels like an organic, obvious thing; thoroughly true.

- Andrew

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