Sarah Jarosz | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Sarah Jarosz 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Tue., Aug. 2, 8 p.m. 2011

Texas bluegrass prodigy Sarah Jarosz just turned 20, but she seems to have been born a fully formed singer, songwriter, and musician (she plays mandolin and sometimes guitar). By the time she made her first record at 17, she'd already attracted A-list pickers like Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, and Tim O'Brien, all of whom make appearances on it. Throughout her second album, Follow Me Down (Sugar Hill), Jarosz demonstrates a nonchalant range unbound by tradition—unlike, say, fellow prodigy Alison Krauss—even as her songs remain wedded to uncut mountain music at heart. For "Annabelle Lee" she skillfully turns Poe's poem "Annabel Lee" into a modern murder ballad, and her cover of Radiohead's "The Tourist" (where she's backed by prog-bluegrass heavies the Punch Brothers) is a shimmering meditation that effortlessly balances light and dark. Jarosz is a musical omnivore—country, folk, rock, and pop all course through her work—but her cohesive aesthetic prevents her from sounding the slightest bit dilettantish. Peter Margasak

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