Sarah Jarosz: Song Up In Her Head

Music Reviews Sarah Jarosz
Sarah Jarosz: Song Up In Her Head

Delightful debut from a new blade of bluegrass

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.

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