Joanna Newsom, Mysterious?
NEW YORK MAGAZINE How did you hook up with a living legend like Van Dyke Parks?
"I knew and loved Song Cycle, but I didn’t understand what a big deal it was to approach him to do this. He had the grace to not unburden me of that ignorance. When I met with him, I thought I was hallucinating. I felt like I was in a Lewis Carroll book or something. The business card he gives you is a truly classic piece of Van Dyke methodology. It’s in beautiful Edwardian script and reads something like, 'Van Dyke Parks sincerely apologizes for any offense he might have caused on the date of …' I played the five songs that would end up on the record for him and his wife. When I was done, he said, 'Okay, that sounds great. I’ll do it.'"
Was there champagne?
"No, but when we did start working, there were Bloody Marys aplenty. He’s a southern gentleman, so he managed to offer me a Bloody Mary whenever we had a break. It was really a joy. It will be among the things that I will tell my kids about when I have them. I think he’s a national treasure. He represents everything that is rad about being American."