Sharon Van Etten's 2010 release, Epic, was a welcome change from her first self-released album, which had some great songs but suffered from being a starkly acoustic album from a singer-songwriter who obsessed over an unknown "you." Epic is a fuller record from an artist whose growing confidence is also on display in her live performances. Still, we may be catching her in the transition between her early awkward stage and something more artistically exciting. In both career arc and style, there are a lot of similarities between Van Etten and Cat Power's Chan Marshall. Though Marshall's career has been successful (and isn't likely over yet, even if it's been a while since The Greatest), Van Etten seems far more confident and bold, even in this early stage. You might see Van Etten mildly intimidated by performing, but at this point in her career, Chan Marshall was canceling shows due to stage fright. Van Etten performs with a strange grace, and as she adds more elements to her sound, whether it's Mellotron or pedal steel, there's a feeling that she has something great up her sleeve, even better than what she come up with so far.
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