Sarah Jarosz, Brother Brothers | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz

Sandlin Gaither

Sarah Jarosz, Brother Brothers 

When: Sun., July 10, 5 & 8 p.m. 2016
Price: $27, $25 members
Sarah Jarosz graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2013, settling in New York to begin her career as a full-time musician. Her stunning new album Undercurrent (Sugar Hill) is her first since venturing out into the world on her own, but she’s been in complete possession of her talents for a long time—she made the first of her four records when she was just 16. However the new one does achieve a new apotheosis. Working with a small coterie of musicians, Jarosz moves easily between bluegrass roots, folk rock, and shimmering pop, setting each song with modest, rustic arrangements free of drums and keyboards. There’s a high-gloss finish to “Green Lights,” an unabashed love song in which a relationship seems to clear a wide path for future possibilities: “Green lights and open roads / And skies of endless blue.” Songs streaked with romantic grandeur alternate with those characterized by heartbreak and resentment. With spot-on harmony singing between Jarosz and guitarist Jedd Hughes that reminds me of husband-and-wife singer-songwriters Buddy and Julie Miller, “House of Mercy” features a narrator who refuses to respond to the pounding on her door by the lover who two-timed her (“You make me want to be alone”). Her songs routinely avoid polarities, reflecting a more complicated reality. On “Back of My Mind” she tweaks the meaning of the titular phrase, asserting that the memory of an ex-lover will be pushed well into the back of her mind rather than lurking anywhere near the surface. Jarosz appears with a trio with Hughes and bassist Jeff Picker.
— Peter Margasak
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