Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, Vetiver

Raleigh/Durham Independent | by Chris Parker

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An amazing, unusual talent, Banhart's music could be called folk but that'd be far too limiting, as he melds elements of Appalachia, blues, ragtime, and Celtic folk into tender acoustic elegies whose weird, wild-eyed style recalls Daniel Johnston and Syd Barrett. But unlike those precious naifs, Banhart seems less a slave to his iconoclastic artistic impulses than their equal partner. With his rich, lyrical imagery and high, crackling voice enveloped in warm, spare musical tapestries, there's something haunting yet endearing about Barnhart's music--like an eccentric uncle with a penchant for enigmatic stories and acid folk. Opener Joanna Newsom is a classically trained harpist with a childlike voice whose debut surveys Appalachian folk and bluegrass with delicate grace.