Jessica Pratt has been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan lately.
“On the road sometimes you just listen to the weirdest [expletive],” says the California-born singer-songwriter of her tour with Beach House, which will bring her to Saturn on Saturday, Oct. 3. “We’ve been listening to the live 1966 Royal Albert Hall concert from Bob Dylan. You know how when Dylan went electric, everyone was pissed off? This was one of the concerts where he was performing electric guitar.
“Toward the end of the electric set, in between songs, someone in the audience yells, ‘Judas,’ with implications that are obvious. Dylan gets mad, turns around to his band and says, ‘Play it [expletive] loud,’ and they go into this crazy version of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ that is so vicious and angry. It’s really [expletive] cool.”
You likely won’t see Pratt pulling any similar moves onstage; she specializes in delicate folk tunes that straddle the line between intimate and ethereal. Her latest album, On Your Own Love Again, is a collection of subtle, often surprising songs recorded almost entirely in her bedroom. It’s music that sounds like it could have come out of the late 1960s (Pratt cites Syd Barrett and Donovan as influences for their “fantastical… imaginative and poetic and dreamlike” qualities).
If there is a connection between Dylan’s electric concert and Pratt’s musicianship, it’s in her response to criticism — or, really, to any input at all. “The more you become familiar with the way people analyze things and the weird opinions people can have, the more self-critical you can become,” she says. “I think that’s a danger that a lot of people encounter.”
It’s for that reason that Pratt chooses to record in the solitude of her bedroom rather than in the typical studio setting. “It’s necessary, not just because you can be easily distracted from just working at all — which I can — but just because even the smallest observation that someone makes can alter the avenue that you take to finish something or how you look at things or how you process things,” she says. “I think I might be a little more on the paranoid side of that. I don’t like getting any input, really. The times where I’ve asked people for their opinions about things, it’s generally not the answer I’m looking for. The answer I’m looking for always comes from within myself — most of the time!”
Jessica Pratt will open for Beach house Saturday, Oct. 3 at Saturn. Doors open at 8 p.m.; the show begins at 9 p.m. For more information, visit saturnbirmingham.com.