I saw Joan as Police Woman open for Andrew Bird about a month ago at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club, and despite the rather inattentive and talkative crowd — which can ruin a quiet performance — she held it together and put on a great performance. Here’s a short piece about the title track to her album Real Life for NPR’s Song of the Day. Check out the song here.
From the Sidelines to the Spotlight
‘Real Life’ by Joan as Police Woman (Real Life)
It’s hard to believe that Joan Wasser, the singer-songwriter behind Joan as Police Woman, is only now attracting widespread attention. She could easily be considered an industry veteran: She’s performed with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and collaborated with the likes of John Zorn, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and the late Jeff Buckley.
Yet after stints as a key member of The Dambuilders and Those Bastard Souls, Wasser finally seizes the spotlight with her solo debut Real Life. While the record displays the classically trained violinist’s talents as a pianist and guitarist, it’s her spellbinding voice that commands the most attention. Like many of the disc’s songs, the title track incorporates elements of soul, sultry piano ballads and orchestral indie-rock.
Accompanied only by piano, Wasser’s voice sounds warm and inviting though starkly honest as she sings to a distant love on “Real Life.” The song’s simple progressions and themes unwrap themselves slowly, revealing layers of nuance, and the addition of delicately plucked violin strings in the final moments adds a hint of hope. It’s those fragile and earnest touches that allow “Real Life” to endure long after it’s over.