Since releasing 2007's Like Love Lust & the Open Halls of the Soul, Jesse Sykes has left Barsuk Records, her longtime label, left Seattle, her longtime home; left Sweet Hereafter guitarist Phil Wandscher, her longtime boyfriend; and given up drinking, her longtime salve. Today Sykes is intellectually engaged and ferociously curious, and at 44, an age when many artists become pale facsimiles of their younger, bolder selves, she continues to ascend creatively. Marble Son, Sykes's latest effort, which she co-produced with Wandscher (co-founder of the defunct and legendary Ryan Adams-fronted band Whiskeytown), couldn't have been made by an unscathed, elfin newbie. Incandescent and dark, ethereal and serpentine, Marble Son finds Sykes channeling love's beauty, loss and wonder with a knowledge — or maybe a resignation — only time affords.
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