I can't really believe the extent to which Young Man In America and Hadestown are such moving, literate, interesting and genius records which just don't get nearly enough love... Her earlier works have their own beauty to unfold as well. Actually "I Wear Your Dress" "Cosmic American" and "Orion" are all gorgeous and emotional for me. So many others I could name. I hope she's working on a new project, three 10/10 albums in a row would be impressive but given her trajectory so far, seems possible.
Seen her live twice and both performances were phenomenal. The first time I saw her, she opened for Ani DiFranco and gave a stripped-down performance with just her acoustic guitar. It was so heartfelt and I fell in love with her music immediately. On her tour with Bon Iver, she had a full band and it was cool to hear her new songs come alive on stage. She is severely underrated and overlooked.
Her lyrics seem to be still as solid and intriguingly beautiful as ever, but I think I'm mostly drawn to her early albums because of her singing style back then. She sounded way less Joanna Newsom-ey, maybe her more childlike affected way of singing since The Brightness was conscious, maybe not. Either way, though it wasn't a bad change at all (some newer songs probably wouldn't work as well as they do if recorded 8 years ago), I usually find her old voice more appealing.
The only reason I can see that Anais hasn't been a huge success commercially is the overtly political edge to her lyrics. Voice to die for... the "real deal" so far as authenticity and creativity are concerned (take your fake Del Rey and shove it!). Hadestown is an extaordinary and exceptional album... She'll have her day. Her own version of "Why We Build" on Youtube is genius... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TUfxx2JrqY - but then so is "Wedding Song" "Young man..." and "Shenandoah" (...OK rant over - I'll go back to listening the Hip Hop, Jazz and Soul) ...
She's an amazing songwriter but I don't really care for her vocals. They remind me of Duffy who I can't stand. She falls in that category of artists for me where I can appreciate her music but I don't truly love it for one aspect or another.
Totally disagree as well. It's her most personal, human, alive and scintillating album since "Hymns For the Exiled". I didn't even care for "Hadestown". I want her voice and her emotions. A group effort that sounds more like a stage musical than a folk recording has very little to do with that. This is a great direction she's heading in with "Young Man in America".