In Sharon Van Etten's defense, a massive stage in an expansive park at 3 p.m. on a steamy Chicago afternoon is not the most ideal venue for her music. Thus listening to Van Etten open last summer's Pitchfork Music Festival from across Union Park's outfield was never more than mildly stimulating. If you're going to play folk music in a park, you'd be better off sitting down in the grass and strumming for a small circle of onlookers.

In Sharon Van Etten's defense, a massive stage in an expansive park at 3 p.m. on a steamy Chicago afternoon is not the most ideal venue for her music. Thus listening to Van Etten open last summer's Pitchfork Music Festival from across Union Park's outfield was never more than mildly stimulating. If you're going to play folk music in a park, you'd be better off sitting down in the grass and strumming for a small circle of onlookers.

That's not Van Etten's fault, though. Thankfully for the Columbus listeners, the Brooklyn chanteuse will play Friday at the Wexner Center performance space, a much more suitable setting for her hushed country-folk. The stark lighting and silent surroundings will allow attentive ears to take in every last nuance.

Van Etten's sophomore album, "Epic," deserves the same level of headphone examination. She's the latest in a line of smart, sensitive folkies whose inspiration runs deeper than Hallmark emotions and a few coffee shop chords. It's to her credit that she's done more than merely recreate the Cat Power records she's surely worn out.

Julianna Barwick opens the show.