Pensacola, Florida
Monday October 20th 2014

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The New Traditional

by Jessica Forbes

In reading the musical resume of Sarah Jarosz, one would probably think that what’s described is the career of someone perhaps twice her age. At 22, Jarosz, has collaborated with legendary artists, recorded three albums, and built a reputation as one of the most talented and technically proficient musicians in a new wave of American folk music.

Having started out in bluegrass, Jarosz is a vocalist who also plays mandolin, banjo, and guitar, blending traditional roots with influences from an array of genres. Her covers of Bob Dylan, Joanna Newsome, The Decemberists, and Radiohead reveal a range of musical appreciation.

And while she has toured the U.S., U.K., and Canada, Jarosz’s Pensacola show will be her first in Florida.

At the time she spoke to the IN, Jarosz was preparing to record her second performance for Austin City Limits; her first appearance was in support of her first album “Song Up In Her Head” released when Jarosz was 18 and preparing to study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

Jarosz’s second album, “Follow Me Down” followed two years later in 2011 drawing her attention from NPR and Paste Magazine among others. This September saw the release of her third studio album, “Build Me Up From Bones,” which Jarosz recorded during breaks in her last semester at NEC.

“My mom plays guitar and sings as a hobby,” Jarosz remembered of her childhood when she herself first started singing. “Growing up so close to Austin, Texas they would always take me to see live music there, so there was certainly a lot of music going on in my house.”

The mandolin became a fixture in Jarosz’s life at age 10, after she’d borrowed one from friends of the family and her parents saw her interest. Shortly thereafter, Jarosz discovered a weekly bluegrass jam in her hometown of Wimberley, Texas, just southwest of Austin. It wasn’t long after that Jarosz picked up banjo and guitar as well.

“When I was 12 I started having an opportunity to sit in with some of my heroes like Tim O’Brien and David Grisman,” said Jarosz, who at that age also started writing her own songs and playing in Austin and small festivals, as a teenager notably jamming with Earl Scruggs and Ricky Scaggs.

“There is nothing really that is quite as great as getting to play music with someone of that caliber,” Jarosz stated. “I’ve had so many of those moments. I think that’s one thing that’s really special about the acoustic music scene.”

After a set at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival when she was 16, producer Gary Paczosa approached Jarosz. “That was a real turning point,” she remembered. Paczosa has worked with Alison Krauss and the Infamous Stringdusters among numerous other bluegrass- and country-centric artists. Within a year of their meeting, Jarosz signed with Sugar Hill Records where Pacoaza has produced each of Jarosz’s albums.

Currently, Jarosz is touring with Alex Hargraves and Daniel Smith, who all met at music camps eight years ago. “We’ve played together in a trio for about three-and-a-half years, so it’s a really special thing we’ve got going on musically,” said Jarosz, “and I feel really fortunate to get to play with them.”

SARAH JAROSZ AT VINYL MUSIC HALL
WHAT: Sarah Jarosz with Brian Wright
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $20
DETAILS: 607-6758 or vinylmusichall.com