Harpist/singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom’s debut record, The Milk-Eyed Mender, has inspired a number of memorable covers. But look ahead through the rest of of Newsom’s work—post-2006, frankly—and notable versions become far harder to come by. Newsom’s move from Milk-Eyed to her sophomore record, Ys, and beyond involved a series of especially massive creative leaps: modest folk songs to epic orchestral suites, and, later, to triple LPs. Newsom’s work has only gotten richer and more fascinating, the lyrics denser and the arrangements knottier — but, at least based on past precedent, she’s also seemingly grown more… uncover-able.
It’s refreshing and impressive, then, to come across a cover of not only a post-Milk-Eyed Mender tune, but a Newsom acolyte who has made their own creative in-roads to her later work. This would be singer-songwriter Rachel Sumner, who, alongside her band Traveling Light, has shared an artful new cover of Joanna Newsom’s “Colleen.”