Ramblin' Rhodes: Hear songs from Jarosz's most intimate album at Banjo-B-Que

Sarah Jarosz takes the stage at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, May 28, during the Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que Music Festival.

Just five days after turning 25 on May 23, bluegrass and Americana artist Sarah Jarosz will be performing on Saturday, May 28, at the Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que Music Festival at Evans Towne Center Park in Evans, Ga.

 

Admission is $35 Saturday when Jarosz performs, or $35 on Friday. A ticket for both days is $60. Visit banjobque.com for more details.

On June 17, Jarosz will be releasing her fourth album, Undercurrent, which is pretty significant considering that she already has been nominated for three Grammy awards for previous recordings.

The song Mansinneedof from her 2009 debut album, Song Up in Her Head, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category.

She was in her dorm room at the New England Conservatory of Music when she learned of the nomination.

Her third album Build Me Up From Bones and its title track were nominated for Grammys for Best Folk Album and Best American Roots Song.

Unfortunately, none of those nominations resulted in Jarosz taking home that coveted award.

“This new album is very special to me because, number one, it’s my first album of all original songs,” Jarosz said by phone from her home in New York City.

“And it’s my most personal album to date that’s true to my life right now,” she continued. “Musically and texturally, it’s also the most stripped down. My previous albums have had tons of guest artists. This time I wanted to anchor more solo artists. The result is it feels most intimate.”

Thebluegrasssituation.com site reports, “The Gary Paczosa-produced album will strongly feature Jarosz’s vocals accompanied by minimal instrumentation. Australian songwriter Jedd Hughes and Guster’s Luke Reynolds will add guitar parts and harmony vocals, while bassist Mark Shatz will deliver on the low end.”

So I told Jarosz, “Well knowing all of this, I’ll go out on a limb and be the first to predict that this is the one that will finally get you a Grammy.”

“Thank you for that,” she softly replied.

Jarosz has lived a very charmed and accomplished life in her 25 years.

She was born in Austin, Texas, (home of the Austin City Limits PBS TV series) and grew up in Wimberley, just 40 miles from one of America’s greatest music centers.

Getting a mandolin for Christmas when she was nine years old led her to playing the guitar and claw hammer banjo and performing at her first bluegrass festival when she was 11 years old.

In May 2006, she had the opportunity to be a guest mandolin player with the Austin Symphony Orchestra for Ballet Austin’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

“That was really cool,” she recalled. “It was a thrill, to be in the pit with the orchestra. I learned a lot from that experience, because up to that time I had only done bluegrass things.”

The year 2007 was a very important one for her.

She won an Austin Music Award during the South By Southwest Music Conference. That made her the youngest performer to win that award since guitarist/singer Charlie Sexton won one in the 1980s.

And it was the summer of 2007, after performing her set at Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, that she met Gary Paczosa, producer and engineer with Sugar Hill Records based in Nashville, Tenn. That led to her signing with the label and the release of her 2009 debut album.

Recent years have found her making numerous recordings with other artists, appearing on many festivals and TV shows and touring internationally with her trio I’m With Her consisting of Jarosz and band mates Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan.

And somehow she found the time to earn a degree in contemporary improvisation with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass.

Jarosz told me that much of the inspiration for her new album came from the serenity of walking around the reservoir in New York City’s Central Park not far from where she lives.

“When I’m not on the road, I make a real effort to get there as much as possible,” she said. “With my Texas roots I have to have some level of outdoor time and find some escapism in that way.”

 

SNEAK PEAK AT THE NEW SEASON: At 6 p.m. Friday, June 17, Mike Deas, the very capable founder and leader of the Augusta Amusements Inc. offerings at the Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans, is having a “sneak peak” at his 2016-2017 season lineup.

He did let it out that included in the season will be country star Pam Tillis, traditional country band The Malpass Brothers and some tribute bands.

 

FAREWELL TO GUY CLARK: Many of you saw that Texas-born singer/songwriter Guy Clark died at age 74 on May 17. His singer/songwriter wife, Susanna, died the year before.

Although many country fans may be unfamiliar with his name, they know his long list of hit songs including Desperados Waiting for a Train and L.A Freeway.

His 2013 album, My Favorite Picture of You, won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album.

Some of his other composition’s included Ricky SkaggsHeartbroke and Vince Gill’s Oklahoma Borderline.

The Clarks opened up their east Nashville, Tenn., home to fledgling songwriters trying to make it in the music business and hosted such “unknowns” as Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Earle, Billy Joe Shaver and Rodney Crowell.

 

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 PAPA JOE’S BANJO-B-QUE MUSIC FESTIVAL

WHEN: Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday, May 27, and at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 28

WHERE: Evans (Ga.) Towne Center Park

DETAILS: $35 general admission; two-day tickets are $60; banjobque.com

 

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