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Unsaddled from the song of the open road, in the isolation of the first Covid-winter deep in Northern Colorado, Josephine Foster’s songbook evolves, and her album Godmother is disclosed: a circle held within the void; a gift that gathers what belongs to the giving.

In this, her 19th album, Foster’s capstone finds orbit around a new celestial body: a giant Technics thrift store keyboard.  This embrace of electronics uncovers new horizons within Foster’s repertoire.  Imagine Conrad Schnitzler crossing paths with Cateono Veloso on the way to an Almodóvar black sand beach party; now split the vocal-atom between Karen Dalton and a Bobbie Gentry come out of long hiding, only to add a polyglot, secret grammar of the lung, unafraid to drop into Alice Coltrane style mantras, mid-song.

Cooper Crain (Cave / Bitchin’ Bajas) recorded and mixed the album, subtly bringing into focus the ellipse of JF’s marbled brow and rippling wave.  The resulting sunkissed degrees of permanence are simultaneously unlike any previous JF album, while still immediately of a whole within her extant body of work.

-Kristafer Abplanalp

Released on Fire records, January 28, 2022

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Vinylization of a tour CDR, Josephine recorded at home around the time of A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Accompanying herself on guitar and piano, with some drum & vocal help from Brian Goodman, the album is a glorious once-lost-now-found piece of the fascinating musical puzzle that is the music of Josephine Foster.
While Foster’s music is clearly consonant with the current trends in avant-völk music (here, especially, on her wild readings from the Tibetan Book of Dzyan), another large portion of her muse seems rooted in the parlor music tradition that predates recorded sound. At times, when she is playing piano and singing, you can almost imagine she’s channeling the spirit of a long-gone frontier maiden, belting out her soul’s truths on an old upright piano in a dusty living room. It feels like an improvised soundtrack to Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip.
But the work presented on this album is neither static nor easily categorized. Josephine follows her muse wherever it goes, and (like her) it is peripatetic as all get-out. From free rock slugfests, to tunes that float with the easy clarity of hymns, What is It That Ever Was offers peek into the private creative process of one of this generation’s great original voices.
Don’t be shy.

-Byron Coley

Feeding Tube LP limited vinyl pressing of 400 copies:

Digital release available for purchase here: