- Personnel: Joanna Newsom (harp, piano); Neal Morgan (drums, percussion).
- Recording information: Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA; King Sound & Pictures, Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; Radiostar Studio, Weed, CA; Sear Sound, New York, NY; Station To Station, Grass Valley, CA; The Cedar House, Seattle, WA; The Quarry House, Trinidad, CA.
- Photographer: Annabel Mehran.
- Arranger: Ryan Francesconi.
- In case there was any doubt that Joanna Newsom was busy making music -- along with modeling and starring in MGMT videos -- in the four years between her brilliant second album Ys and its follow-up, Have One on Me's three-disc, two-hour expanse is proof positive. The album's massive size suggests that Newsom is bent on outdoing herself with each release, but the music is simpler than Ys' symphonic reveries. Instead, she uses this oversize canvas to travel from Appalachian folk to big city pop, with stops at country, soul, and gospel along the way. It's a dense journey, not just as a whole, but from song to song. Most of the album's range is in the title track: Over 11 minutes, "Have One on Me" begins with jazzy harp stylings and some of Newsom's most polished vocals, returns to Milk-Eyed Mender's rural whimsy, passes through a marching band, and lands in a British folk reverie. Similarly striking moments appear at the beginning and end of this triptych, but the first disc presents Newsom's biggest departures. Have One on Me's first third incorporates rock and pop, giving it a Laurel Canyon flair that underscores the `70s vibe of the whole endeavor. The lovely "Easy" plays like a Ys track rewritten for a rock opera; "Good Intentions Paving Company" flirts with winsome country-rock; "'81" is the closest the album comes to having a pop single; and the limpid, almost painfully quiet "Baby Birch" reaffirms that Newsom doesn't have to be complex to be moving. The album's third disc dives into her dramatic side, especially on "Kingfisher," a chamber pop fantasia that plays like a condensed version of Ys. Have One on Me's middle stretch unfurls songs that expand on Milk-Eyed Mender's serenity, including the dazzlingly beautiful "Go Long," which ranks among Newsom's finest songs. At its best, Have One on Me is an impressive album with the intimacy of a live performance. ~ Heather Phares
Rolling Stone (p.62) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Lyrically she leaps forward, spitting archaic, colloquial, funny and profound on the difficulty of love..."
Spin (p.90) - "[S]he simply delves deeper and gives what few artists can deliver: a self-contained world of warmth, crystalline detail, and intimacy..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.73) - "[H]er melodies have become cleaner, her arrangements less mannered, and her singing more straightforwardly heartfelt." -- Grade: A-
The Wire (p.37) - "[A] monumental triple album of fabulist balladry, Edenic elation and introspective, Laurel Canyon-infused songsmithery..."
CMJ - "[T]hough she remains deeply rooted in Celtic instrumentation and classical music structure, the harpist/songwriter now touches on everything from Indian music instrumentation to surprisingly funky country-music blues."
Billboard - "The most powerful tracks combine sparseness and excessive instrumenation....HAVE ONE ON ME is a spacious artistic statement too original to pass up."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.56) - Ranked #13 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2010" -- "Bold and subtle, engrossing and bewildering, it was the work of a master."
Paste (magazine) (p.63) - "It's like tumbling into her world and getting lost for weeks....HAVE ONE ON ME is packed with magic."
Pitchfork (Website) - "Her voice has gained depth and she sing with more force and clarity....The bigger difference seems to be the overall mood, which is expansive and welcoming."
Uncut (magazine) - "HAVE ONE ON ME is suffused with space, invention and playfulness....It's also exceptionally beautiful..."
Uncut (magazine) (p.37) - Ranked #1 in Uncut's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2010" -- "The songs -- all 18 -- were impeccably wrought, packed with epiphanies."