About Sarah Jarosz

Since signing to Sugar Hill Records at age 16, Sarah Jarosz has barely stopped to catch her breath, even as she leaves audiences and critics alike breathless. Rolling Stone has compared her to Gillian Welch; Mojo labeled her a “newgrass prodigy” for her skills on banjo, guitar and mandolin; and the normally reserved New York Times hailed her as “one of acoustic music’s finest talents,” with songwriting chops to match her instrumental prowess. With her new album Build Me Up From Bones, Sarah Jarosz, now 22, has graduated in every sense of the word. The album came to fruition as she finished college at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and Bones incorporates the many lessons she learned there as she delved into other artistic realms. That said, it’s a neat trick that Jarosz covers songs by two artists with fiercely loyal followings, and makes them all her own. Her version of harpist Joanna Newsom’s song “The Book of Right-On” stays true to the original’s freak folk funkiness, but Jarosz goes a step further by giving the song a winsome honey-gilded vocal to pine for. And as for taking on Bob Dylan — which she did on her 2011 disc Follow Me Down—Jarosz didn’t expect she’d do it again. But a backstage jam session with cellist Nathaniel Smith (part of the trio behind the new album, along with fiddler Alex Hargreaves) proved, indeed, “A Simple Twist of Fate.” Yet it’s clear that what Jarosz carried in her head and nurtured in her heart brandished plenty of magic to begin with. In the conservatory setting of her final college days, she assailed the dual challenge of crafting new songs and cramming for exams. Instead of bowing to the pressure, she flowed with it, harnessed it, and passed with flying colors … leading a musical graduation day of a distinct and rare kind.
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