Continuing my “tour” of local concert venues, I finally got to see Sarah Jarosz last night.
I don’t remember where I first heard of her; I don’t listen to that kind of radio channel typically. I do like Austin City Limits though, and perhaps because she has performed with Alison Krauss, who I like, I must have found her through one of those avenues.
Sarah Jarosz is a “contemporary bluegrass prodigy,” as Rolling Stone magazine describes her. She first released an album when she was still in high school and has since graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music. She is only 22!
She plays the guitar, banjo, and two different types of mandolin. She has a lot of original songs, but also (in my experience) plays a lot of cover versions (from artists including Tom Waits, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan).
I remember seeing Sarah McLachlan (twice) and being so impressed at the purity of her voice – how it seemingly needed no mixing or whatever else they do when songs are put on a CD. Last night was even better.
The Aladdin Theater in Portland is an old venue, and certainly not acoustically great. But in the 15+ songs Sarah Jarosz played last night, there were several times I closed my eyes and actually zoned out, disbelieving the richness of sound I was hearing. I can’t imagine million dollar headphones/speakers or all the audio technology in the world producing a better sound than her natural voice and the trio playing guitar/cello/mandolin/banjo/fiddle. Below are some links, mostly from other concerts.
For an encore, she played Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song” and it was one of the best things I have ever heard. I’m at a loss for words.
She also covers The Decemberists’ “Shankill Butchers” and I believe it’s better than the original.
Afterwards, she was great about meeting fans. She signed and chatted. I asked her about her last name and she knew the original pronunciation of it (in Hungarian), so that was cool.
As a random side note, the opening band sat next to me during Sarah Jarosz’ set. Also pretty cool.
Here’s a mini NPR All Things Considered concert for you to enjoy. My favorite song of hers begins at 3:04.
If you ever have a chance to see her, it will be a treat!
Watching her made me wish I could play an instrument. That would be really fun. I tried to learn guitar once and it lasted a month or two. I should try again.