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Folk - Released November 11, 2013 | Fire Records

Who would have thought that after the winding, labyrinthine musical journey singer and songwriter Josephine Foster has been on since her 2005 debut, Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You, she'd eventually make her way back to writing and recording in the Americana vein? There have been albums of children's songs, the poems of Emily Dickinson, neo-psychedelia, Spanish folk songs of the Anda Jaleo, and a rock-ballet chanté. I'm a Dreamer was recorded in Nashville with the truly gifted pianist Micah Hulscher and a host of players including husband Victor Herrero, Chris Scruggs, and Tommy Perkinson. Foster wrote all but one song, the closer, a gorgeous cover of Vernon Duke's standard "Cabin in the Sky" (revisioned as a parlor song). She also uses a Rudyard Kipling poem for the lyrics to "Blue Roses." Opener "Sugarpie I'm Not the Same" is swinging country blues that floats to the present via the barroom stages of the postwar years. It's a delightful shuffle with Hulscher's honky tonk flourishes and a Foster harmonica solo. The brushed drums and acoustic guitars frame her distinctive voice and bittersweet lyric. Scruggs' weepy steel guitar colors the forlorn "No One's Calling Your Name," as Hulscher punctuates Foster's sweet yet mournful lines. The simmering desire in "My Wandering Heart" is underscored by Dave Roe's double bass that leads the gently swinging ensemble; in her delivery, Foster unhurriedly allows the words to drip from her mouth subtly, yet provocatively, like honey. "Pretty Please" weds postwar American country to the lyric and melodic savvy of Stephen Foster. The spare, bleed-through mix of "Magenta" finds cello, brushed snare, piano, and a restrained, reverbed electric guitar barely illustrating Foster's mezzo-soprano. The effect is warm, tender, seductive, brimming with eros disguised as sentiment. "This Is Where the Dreams Head, Maude" finds its root in early-'30s speakeasies. Its gently swaying 4/4 weds jazz, early country, and blues in a gauzy nocturnal whole. Though I'm a Dreamer harks back to Foster's down-home roots, she is much more sophisticated as a writer and arranger. She is in full command of her vision, which articulates a unique musical language here, formulated in familiar tropes. Given how mercurial she's been, this stylistic return may be temporary, but it's so fully realized, it's also a most welcome one. ~ Thom Jurek
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Folk - Released April 20, 2013 | Fire Records

Blurring the lines of traditional folk with just enough legitimately cracked perspectives and hints of psychedelic atmospheres, Josephine Foster has quietly amassed a sprawling discography of magical and pure recordings, rooted in folk but made unique by the odd lines, mismatched colors, and faraway dreamy-eyed moods of Foster's singing and songwriting. While contemporaries like Joanna Newsom and Will Oldham rose to acclaim with similar updates of the folk vernacular, Foster's equally brilliant body of work grew in relative obscurity, shifting organically over the course of many years and stretching out in various directions as Foster's muse evolved. Little Life is a collection of home recordings made in 2001 at the very beginning of her exploration of songwriting. Formerly documenting her songs only in written annotation, setting up microphones and putting songs down on four-track cassettes in the spare room was a new concept to Foster, and that spark of naive excitement is electric throughout the 11 songs on Little Life. With a brilliant and soaring voice that has some of the same dusty character of Karen Dalton or pastoral solitude of Anne Briggs, Foster accompanies herself with spare fingerpicked guitar or banjo, and even the occasional flute or piano twinkle. There's a dazzling intimacy to these recordings, with the wistfully rambling "Francie's Song" sounding like a friend playing a song in her bedroom for an audience of one, while playful shorter songs like "Warsong" and "Charles in the Park" feel like demos happy to not take themselves too seriously. The early-oughts recording date of these songs happened right as freak folk was forming, and the lushly woozy double-tracked vocals and formless autoharp strums of "Stones in My Heavy Bag" definitely fall in line with the salad days of the New Weird America scene. This soft and offhand collection of songs closes with the gorgeous title track, and even in her most unassuming and insular early days, Foster created some delicately powerful and transportive sounds. Little Life captures the same inward beauty as some of the most important records of the psych-folk genre, reflecting shades of the freewheeling exploration of Linda Perhacs' Parallelograms as well as the youthful sense of possibility found on Karen Dalton's In My Own Time. ~ Fred Thomas
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Folk - Released November 30, 2009 | Fire Records

When Josephine Foster released A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing in 2006, she provocatively recorded the lieder of composers like Schumman, Brahms, and Schubert in a unique framework. She sang them in German and played acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica with improvising electric guitarist Brian Goodman accompanying her for a contemporary feel. Though her music exists in a unique space, she echoes such risk-taking classic folk performers such as Shirley Collins. On Graphic as a Star -- her debut album for Fire Records -- she has written music to the poems of Emily Dickinson, and the fit is seamless. She conceived the 26-song cycle while living in a remote region of Spain and had brought very few books with her. Dickinson’s poems provided comfort. In her liner notes she claims these songs came together in a matter of weeks. Musically, this is more sparse than anything she’s ever recorded -- accompanying herself only on an acoustic guitar, sometimes with a primitive-sounding harmonica added. She also she sings a cappella (“Wild Nights - Wild Nights!”) or with only the sounds of chirping birds in the background (“What Shall I Do - It Whimpers So -”). While all of Foster’s work is provocative, this proves the warmest, loveliest, and most beautifully articulated recording in her catalog. These poems (which were also written in solitude; Dickinson was a self-imposed shut-in) easily lend themselves to Foster’s song forms, due to the poet’s keen sense of time, rhythm, and space. Dickinson's writing is often wonderfully elliptical in image and meaning; Foster underscores this here: there are no choruses. These songs are small but evoke the vast emptiness surrounding them. They don’t feel melancholy, even when they are, such as in “My Life Had Stood - A Loaded Gun.“ Instead they are evocative of an America at once imagined and longed for -- and this sense of homesickness is evident in the reedy beauty of Foster’s voice -- which is more controlled and tempered than ever before; she seems to have found the exact pitch and timbre she’s sought since the beginning. While the entire cycle is gorgeous and the tunes nearly inseparable from one another, a couple of tracks lend themselves to singling out: the lilting early American folk melody in “Tho' My Destiny Be Fustian -“ and the languid, bluesy stroll of “I Could Bring You Jewels - Had I a Mind To -.” Graphic as a Star is exquisite. ~ Thom Jurek
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Folk - Released July 13, 2018 | Fire Records

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Folk - Released August 22, 2018 | Fire Records

€8.91

Alternative & Indie - Released June 7, 2005 | Strange Attractors Audio House

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Folk - To be released November 16, 2018 | Fire Records

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