Leave Your Sleep, Natalie Merchant's first studio recording in seven years, is out this week on Nonesuch Records. To mark the occasion, Merchant performs on two consecutive nights at the New York Society for Ethical Culture's Concert Hall, tonight and tomorrow, followed by a free appearance at the city's flagship Barnes & Noble store on Wednesday.
In the midst of it all, she'll stop by the Times Square studio of ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday morning.
For information on all of Merchant's upcoming performances, including stops in the coming weeks in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boulder, Cambridge, and Washington, DC, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.
This past February, Merchant gave a sneak preview of the new album in a performance at this year's TED Conference in Long Beach, California. It was a performance, the show's organizers report, that "brought the TED audience to its feet," and it's now available in a 30-minute concert video online at ted.com.
While in the UK earlier this year, she spoke with the BBC for an interview now available to read at news.bbc.co.uk. The Sun gives the album a perfect five stars, describing it as a "breathtaking patchwork quilt of songs" that was "worth the long wait." The Daily Telegraph gives the album four stars, calling it "gentle, lush, and magnificent." The Daily Express gives it four stars as well. Reviewer Simon Gage was wary that such a project could be pulled off successfully. But with an artist of Merchant's caliber at the helm, it was. Leave Your Sleep, says Gage, "is a real achievement."
Back in the US, the Star-Ledger's Jay Lustig says that Merchant's album can be enjoyed "for the warm glow in her voice and the casual virtuosity of the wide-ranging music."
Paste magazine describes the album as "an effortlessly elegant and pleasant ride." Given the amount of time since her last new studio album, "you forget how deeply wired every inflection of this woman's voice is in your head," writes reviewer Jeff Leven, and this latest project certainly seems worth the wait, as it "may well be her best work since 10,000 Maniacs." Read more at pastemagazine.com.
You can read another interview with Merchant on the Utne Reader website at utne.com.