In our Gen F on Thao Nguyen way back in issue 52, Alex Wagner wrote of her then upcoming tour, saying that all the places she plays will be "all the lovelier for having seen her footprints." This has been our prevailing image of Nguyen: chipper folk warmly doled out song by song on a trusty acoustic guitar. The amount of times we've listened to "Beat (Heath, Life and Fire)" is almost embarrassing. But it turns out she's got a bit of melancholy in her, with "Know Better Learn Faster," the title track from her new album. It might brighten the path in Ireland or anywhere else you might slip on some dewy moss and need to unwind with thick beer. Andrew Bird plays fiddle (and whistles!) on this track, and that could explain the wistfulness. It can't explain the giant pig heart-looking piñata on the cover of the album, though. That just doesn't make a lot of sense.
Photographer Stefan Jora
September 11, 2009