Artist Sarah Jarosz is bringing her unique blend of acoustic genres to Interlochen at a Northern Michigan music event Saturday, July 9. The Brother Brothers, a New York-based folk duo consisting of twin brothers, will open for her. MyNorth Media entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau gives an in-depth look into Sarah Jarosz’s career and the upcoming performance.
Sarah Jarosz grew up in the bluegrass world, playing mandolin, clawhammer banjo and guitar while hanging out with David Grisman and Ricky Skaggs. While she readily admits that’s where she came from – “I was immersed in bluegrass growing up,” she says – that’s not her only point of musical reference. As proof, there’s her degree in contemporary music improvisation from the New England Conservatory of Music. “I wanted to get out of my comfort zone,” she says.
Today she’s more comfortable with the term “Americana music,” with its far-reaching definition, including folk, bluegrass, traditional country, blues and pop music within a (mostly) acoustic framework. She doesn’t even fully embrace that, however. “It’s hard to pin music down. I’m not generally a fan of genre (labels).” As an example, she points to the Alabama Shakes and Milk Carton Kids. “I’d never think of them as begin in the same genre,” she says, but both are derived from roots music.
Whatever the label, there’s no denying Jarosz’s talent or ear for music. She’s shared the stage and the recording studio with a host of storied musicians, such as Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Shawn Colvin and Chris Thile. She was onstage with Garrison Keillor for his final “Prairie Home Companion.” Her most recent recording, Undercurrent, was called “darker than her previous albums, and more resilient,” by the AllMusic Guide. It also said, “Jarosz reaches through her musical and personal histories with vulnerability and willingness. She comes out on the other side with songs that possess narrative savvy, melodic invention, and a refreshing sense of self-assuredness.”
Jarosz has been called a prodigy for her talent, but that’s another label she doesn’t care for – at least not now. “Being 25, that doesn’t apply. I know people like to throw that around with people in their teens or any young person serious about their instrument. I never felt confined by it. I think it’s cool.”
How She Got Her Start
She was given a mandolin when she was nine; by 12 she was already jamming onstage with David Grisman and Jerry Douglas. Her parents recognized her talent and drive, and took her to weekly bluegrass jams in nearby Wimberley, Texas, which led to a series of workshops and performance opportunities at folk and bluegrass festivals around the country.
Folk, country, Americana, bluegrass
Influences and Inspirations
Jerry Douglas, Mark O’Connor, David Grisman, Alison Krauss
Jarosz has now released four albums and has also toured as one-third of I’m With Her, a trio including Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan. She’s worked with Nickel Creek, the Punch Brothers, Edgar Meyer and others, and has won praise from all quarters.
“One of acoustic music’s most promising young talents: a singer-songwriter and mandolin and banjo prodigy with the taste and poise to strike that rare balance of commercial and critical success.”– The New York Times
“All polished young pros, the three (Jarosz, fiddler Alex Hargreaves and cellist Nathaniel Smith) breezed in happily and knocked us out with a careful mix of technical proficiency and poppy warmth.” – National Public Radio
Corson Auditorium, Interlochen Center for the Arts
Date & Time
July 9, 8 p.m.
Tickets are $32. Go to Tickets.Interlochen.org
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