Delightful debut from a new blade of
Eighteen-year-old bluegrass whiz Sarah
Jarosz will have just graduated from high school when her first album
is released this summer, but her age is nearly beside the point.
She's a wildly talented instrumentalist, wielding her mandolin and
claw-hammer banjo like an old pro alongside actual old pros like Tim
O'Brien, Abigail Washburn and Chris Thile (all of whom make guest
appearances). Her voice is lovely, glowing and unfurled at only the
right moments, and two well-done covers—Tom Waits and Kathleen
Brennan's “Come on up to the House” and The Decemberists'
“Shankhill Butchers”—attest to her skill as much as her taste.
But the songs Jarosz wrote herself more pull their own weight. The
eleven originals bubble with questions, toe-tapping impatience and a
dreamy yearning, and they're strung through with twinge of poignancy
that's completely refreshing. She's neither a cloyingly precious
ingenue nor a preternaturally mature pseudo-phenom, just a curious,
smart, sensitive young person who sings about the things that baffle
the hearts and minds of most curious, smart, sensitive people,
regardless of age: love, time and the big wide world. “I have just
begun / A long journey that will run / The length and width of
summertime,” Jarosz sings on one of her originals. She sure has,
and we can't wait to see where it takes her.