North American artist Josephine Foster (b. 1974): singer, multi-instrumentalist, song composer. Known to breathe new life into archaic forms, embodying the cultural archaeology of Harry Smith’s old weird America, she has lent her warbling mezzo-soprano and interpretive wit to nearly two decades of self-produced recordings.
As Jarry said, anachronism, the crossing of different times, produces eternity, and anachronic is an apt arch-adjective to describe Foster’s singular songbook, one that began in the Mountain West (where at age 15 she had her first gig delivering hymns at a log cabin church). Her uncanny timbre imparts a paradoxically rustic glamour, despite a certain stage shyness.
In her 20’s, submerged into Chicago’s fringe rock and free jazz periphery, frayed vestiges of her abandoned operatic aspirations wore away; she then crossed the Atlantic for over a decade, grounding herself in the earthen glaze of rural Spain. A glitter of Nashville recording residencies helped shape her prolific output, solo and band album releases, leading a variety of ensembles on the road around the world and in the studio.
Foster draws from spiritual wells beyond limits of space and time, her performances mesmeric. An oneiric voice which entwines with her own swelling guitar, piano, harp and autoharp gestures, folk-art songs spun in surprising musical design, are often playfully unravelled. And while she favors the piano or organ, she will probably play whatever guitar is handed to her.
Many of her albums, the country-blues and Americana inflected No Harm Done (2020), the gothic Godmother (2022), and others, are available through Fire records.