Undercurrent

By Moran, Pat | Acoustic Guitar, September 2016 | Go to article overview

Undercurrent


Moran, Pat, Acoustic Guitar


Sarah Jarosz

Undercurrent

Sugar Hill

The 25-year-old artist embraces the haunted ambivalence of adulthood

As description and mission statement, Undercurrent, the title of Sarah Jarosz's fourth studio album, is particularly apt. In her smoky alto, she continues to sing of romance and loss, but now her elliptical, expressionistic narratives are underpinned with steely resolve. Layered, textured tunes, some sparsely arranged with little more than solo acoustic guitar, retain the flavor of roots music, yet slip the moorings of genre entirely. Perhaps most telling, Jarosz's longstanding virtuosity on banjo and octave mandolin remains, but takes a back seat to a newfound focus on fluid acoustic guitars (played by Jarosz, Jedd Hughes and Güsters Luke Reynolds). Sundappled, dueling acoustics and Jarosz's slipknot vocal phrasing shimmer through waves of reverb on the jazz-inflected "Green Lights." It's an obvious sign that Undercurrent charts a new course for the singer-songwriter, and instrumentalist, but it's not the only one. …

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