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Undercurrent

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Album Review

On her first studio recording in three years, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz completes the musical shift that began on 2013's Build Me Up from Bones. The earlier album, recorded while finishing her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, explored songwriting outside the norms of contemporary folk, bluegrass, and country. Undercurrent finds her defining a music built out from American roots traditions, not bound by them. She wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs — a first. Another is the album's instrumentation. While her octave mandolin and banjo playing are present, guitar is the dominant instrument here. Now living in New York, Jarosz surrounds herself with familiar collaborators who include I'm with Her bandmates Sara Watkins and Aoife O'Donovan, Luke Reynolds, Parker Millsap, and Jedd Hughes. The fingerpicked solo acoustic opener "Early Morning Light" commences with the audacious lyric "All my troubles have just begun...." It's a broken love/leaving song that admits regret and doubt, but ultimately refuses anything but forward motion. First single "House of Mercy," with its minor-key, rumbling, low-tuned acoustic guitar and arco bass, is a dark, steely Americana blues. It's a bitter kiss-off tune to a bad-news ex, spiny and forceful: "This house wasn't meant for strangers/But you come knockin' anyway...Underneath that shirt you're wearin'/Strained muscles and a heart of stone...You make me want to be alone...." "Comin' Undone" is a jazzy, rag-tinged shuffle outfitted with a gospelized B-3 and ringing electric six-strings. Lyrically, it offers more optimism than its melancholy title indicates. On the solo acoustic "Take Another Turn," in 6/8 time, Jarosz asks "What does it mean to be hungry/Hungry and hunting and wild...Should you talk to yourself a little more/Push right through that closed door." On "Take Me Back," her protagonist desires a return to solace and refuge but also accepts that nothing last forever, as an electric guitar adds poignant solo fills. "Still Life," driven by a lonesome fiddle, is another broken relationship song. In it she questions settling for less, but refuses, even though it means leaving a beloved who cannot completely surrender to what love demands. Though darker than her previous albums, Undercurrent is also more resilient. 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.

Customer Reviews

Deserves much more fame!

Sarah Jarosz is absolutely crazy good. This album is sounding brilliant already. For me personally, when I listen to her music, I feel as if I'm transported to another time and another place.

Beautiful

I love her voice. I especially love the beautiful collaborations she does. Her previous song, "Crossing Muddy Waters" is amazing, and the previous album made up of a trio with her, Sara Watkins and O'Donovoan is just stunning.

I have her other albums so I'm already in love with her,but hearing the preview song on this new album just makes me love her even more. I can't wait for this to release so I can hear the rest of her newest work.
She's the kind of artist you can put on and let it play. There's no skipping around an album with her stuff.
As a singer myself,I love singing her songs she just inspires me..
I highly recommend her solo and collaborative songs. It's kind of mellow, but also makes you want to move; if that makes any sense.🤓🎶🙌🏽

Love it!

There are few albums I buy that i can play from track to track and neve have to think about advancing the tracks. This is that album. I think this is one of the best things I have purchased in the last 5 years. I love the album and this artist. I am a new fan, probably within the last year, but I am a fan forever and headed to the Troubadour in LA tonight to see her.

Biography

Born: May 23, 1991 in Austin, TX

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, clawhammer banjo, and guitar) Sarah Jarosz was seemingly born a musician -- she was already a virtuoso on mandolin by the time she was ten. Born in Austin, Texas on May 23, 1991 Jarosz left no doubt as to where her future was going, and at 12 years old she was jamming with the likes of David Grisman and Ricky Skaggs on-stage. But she wasn’t really bluegrass so much as she was something else: a fine and graceful songwriter with a sweet, timeless...
Full Bio
Undercurrent, Sarah Jarosz
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