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HomeEntertainmentJoanna Newsom Pays Tribute to 'Loyal Friend' Steve Albini at Utah Fest

Joanna Newsom Pays Tribute to ‘Loyal Friend’ Steve Albini at Utah Fest

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Joanna Newsom paid tribute to Steve Albini — the engineer on her acclaimed 2006 album Ys — during the singer’s set Friday at Utah’s Kilby Block Party.

Stereogum reports that prior to Newsom’s performance of “Cosmia,” one of the Ys tracks she recorded with Albini, the singer gave an emotional speech about how much the noise-rock pioneer meant to her.

“So the last few days have been pretty sad because of the loss of Steve Albini, who I love very, very much and admire in every possible way you can admire a person,” Newsom said. 

“I was saying to my friend this morning that like on the list of all the reasons why he’s my hero, music and music-related stuff doesn’t even crack the top ten. He’s been so enormously important in my life musically for so many years, but still just as a human, as a person, as a hilarious, loving, loyal friend to so many people. I miss him. I’m gonna miss him so much. I haven’t accepted it yet.”

In addition to Ys — one of Albini’s essential recordings — Newsom, who previously called Albini “pretty much the best producer in the world,” also enlisted Albini to engineer her 2015 LP Divers.

“I was in this small room with Steve Albini and nobody else, and I was playing the songs exactly as they are, and it was a pretty intense time,” Newsom said in an interview shortly after Ys’ release. “I had it candlelit, in the dark with just candles and conjuring up these pretty insane moments that I had been experiencing…. There’s something about the way Steve recorded me and the environment in which it was done. There was a sense of closeness and spontaneity, and I felt extremely emotionally on edge, and I went through these vocal takes. I was just wrecked afterwards because it was such an emotional experience.”

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Newsom concluded Friday’s tribute by adding, “He recorded the album that this next song is on, as well as so much other stuff that I’ve done. I can’t believe I don’t get to record with him again, but I love Steve. I love you, Steve. This one’s for you.”

Following Albini’s death earlier this week at the age of 61, many of the artists he collaborated with — like Dave Grohl, Jimmy Page, PJ Harvey, Superchunk, his Big Black bandmate Santiago Durango, and more — have shared tributes and remembrances of the legendary musician, producer, and writer.

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