There’s not a long list of harpists who have been able to ride instrumental brilliance into slots at summer music festivals, glowing reviews by Pitchfork and guest spots on “Portlandia.”
If you look for such a list, you’ll find it consists of one name: Joanna Newsom. The California-born multi-instrumentalist is a caterwauling original, and her inventive beauty via strings and distinctive vocal delivery are two reasons why her show Dec. 13 in Asbury Hall at Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.) is one of the holiday season’s most anticipated.
Able to claim critical darlings like 2010’s “Have One On Me” while also boasting the only harp-led track to be sampled by the Roots (see: “The Book of Right On”), Newsom has been hailed by many as a unique voice of complex artistry. With recent release “Divers,” she augments this reputation even further, delivering her fluctuating cadence aside mesmerizing and rich instrumentation. These often unpredictable arrangements should be doubly interesting when delivered live on her first tour in four years — and particularly when each echoes within the converted church confines of Babeville’s showpiece concert hall.
Doors are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 (box office, ticketweb.com).
– Michael Farrell