Sarah Jarosz

Four-time GRAMMY winner Sarah Jarosz has announced her new album, Polaroid Lovers. The record is set for release on January 26th, 2024 via Rounder Records. To mark the occasion she has shared the album opener, "Jealous Moon," and its companion video. The song finds Jarosz backed by a decidedly more electric band, with her Texas lilt as clear and evocative as ever. Polaroid Lovers is available for pre-order today digitally and on vinyl with gray, lavender, orange and green splatter variants. Indie retailers will also have a special blue and green splatter vinyl. For more information visit https://store.sarahjarosz.com/

Sarah Jarosz on "Jealous Moon" I wrote this song with Daniel Tashian in Monteagle, TN on a screened in porch with birds chirping all around. It was a warm summer afternoon. It started as a quiet melody on ukulele and nylon string guitar, but when we got to the studio it became something much more powerful. It's a song about the times when the parts of ourselves that we try to keep hidden rise to the surface and we have no choice but to ride the wave. Sometimes that means doing your own thing to figure it out so you can emerge stronger on the other side. It's not about the end of a relationship, but rather a moment of self reflection and a promise to keep showing up even when things get tough. Once Daniel played the opening riff on piano I knew it had to open the album. I'm always seeking to push myself into new sonic territory, and this song gave me permission to not hold back.

The seventh album from Sarah Jarosz finds the highly decorated songwriter at the apex of change. A Texas native, she's spent most of her adult life living in New York City, but shortly before writing the album Jarosz left her adopted home to join her soon-to-be husband in Nashville, TN. The geographic shake-up led to a sonic one as well for Polaroid Lovers. For the first time in her career she opened herself up to collaborators, leading to writing sessions with Daniel Tashian, Ruston Kelly and Natalie Hemby. The creative reorganization of her writing process evolved to include a much richer and more electric sound in the studio and being in Nashville meant access to a world of hot shot players. She tapped guitarist Rob McNelley (Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood), Tom Bukovac (Tom Petty, Vince Gill) on guitar and organ, her husband- bassist Jeff Picker (Nickel Creek), and drummer Fred Eltringham (Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams) for the album recording. Tashian took the helm as producer and the whole album was laid down at the legendary Sound Emporium.

As it goes with all change, Jarosz's major life events had her feeling contemplative. While sitting on the precipice of adulthood, Polaroid Lovers finds her reflecting on past loves, childhood dreams, the places she lived in and all the versions of herself that she's been. Although the listener experiences the sonic shift forward, the album's subject matter is a photo album of the past. Jarosz has never sounded more assured. Polaroid Lovers is filled with the kind of confidence that comes from hard won life experiences and the conviction of someone who truly knows herself.

Sarah Jarosz released her debut album at the age of 18 and was immediately nominated for her first GRAMMY. Raised in Texas, she began playing mandolin at age 10 and soon after guitar and banjo. To date, she has released six studio albums, has netted ten GRAMMY Nominations and four wins. In 2018, she joined Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek and Aoife O'Donovan to form the supergroup, I'm With Her. The group released their debut album See You Around, and won duo/group of the year at the Americana Awards. Their song, "Call My Name" won the GRAMMY for Best American Roots song.

More About Sarah Jarosz and Polaroid Lovers:

The seventh full-length from four-time Grammy Award-winner Sarah Jarosz, Polaroid Lovers is an album-long meditation on those strangely ephemeral moments that indelibly shape our lives. "What I love about a Polaroid is that it's capturing something so fleeting, but at the same time it makes that moment last forever," says the Texas-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. "It made sense as a title for a record where all the songs are snapshots of different love stories, and there's a feeling of time being expansive despite that impermanence." Thanks to the rarefied alchemy that infuses all of Jarosz's output — her finely wrought lyricism, ravishing vocal work, virtuosic yet unfettered musicality — Polaroid Lovers performs the much-needed magic of leading us toward a heightened sense of presence, all while casting a lovely spell with her timelessly powerful songs.

The follow-up to 2020's studio album World on the Ground (winner of the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album) and 2021's song cycle Blue Heron Suite, Polaroid Lovers embodies a bold new vitality that has much to do with a deliberate shift in Jarosz's writing process and sonic approach. "Historically I've been somewhat closed off to co-writing, but in the past couple of years I've felt curious to get out of my comfort zone," says the newly Nashville-based artist, who released her debut album at just 18-years-old. "For a long time it was important to me to write for myself, so that I wouldn't get lost in those rooms full of amazing writers. But now that I'm more confident in my musical identity, I know I can collaborate but still stay true to my own voice." In one of her first co-writing sessions for Polaroid Lovers, Jarosz joined forces with Daniel Tashian (a songwriter/musician/producer known for his multi-award-winning work on Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour) and immediately felt an undeniable creative connection. "Daniel and I were both so excited by the idea of creating a new sound together, and he pushed me in ways I felt completely ready for and open to," she says. "It felt really good to allow myself that freedom, and to take that leap into something new."

Produced by Tashian at the legendary Sound Emporium, Polaroid Lovers took shape as Jarosz recorded live with musicians like guitarist Rob McNelley (Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood), Tom Bukovac (Tom Petty, Vince Gill) on guitar and organ, her husband bassist Jeff Picker (Nickel Creek), and drummer Fred Eltringham (Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams), carving out a viscerally potent but resplendent brand of folk-rock. Along with layering in such delicately crafted details as otherworldly textures and luminous synth tones, Jarosz and Tashian forged the album's singular sound by foregrounding her spirited performance on octave mandolin. "Out of everything I play, the octave mandolin is definitely my soulmate," says Jarosz, who first took up mandolin at age nine, quickly gained major acclaim in the bluegrass world, and also plays guitar and banjo throughout Polaroid Lovers. "I started playing it when I was 16, and that's when I started writing songs that truly felt like me — there's something about the tonality that really lets my voice shine through."

With her co-writers on Polaroid Lovers also including artists like Ruston Kelly, Natalie Hemby, and Sarah Buxton as well as heavy-hitters like Jon Randall (Miranda Lambert, Emmylou Harris) and Gordie Sampson (Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood), Jarosz opens the album on "Jealous Moon": a gloriously soaring and exquisitely nuanced track that instantly sweeps the listener up in its bristling emotionality. "That song is about the parts of ourselves that we try to keep hidden, and the moments when they rise to the surface and we just have to ride the wave," says Jarosz, who co-wrote "Jealous Moon" with Tashian on a trip to his family's summer house in Monteagle, Tennessee. "Daniel and I call it our little Monteagle song that could — it started off with me playing ukulele and him playing nylon-string guitar on the porch, then blossomed into this very powerful song that knocked me off my feet."

Next, on "When the Lights Go Out," Jarosz shares the sweetly lilting reverie that gave the album its title (from the first verse: "In a dream we were Polaroid lovers/In the deep where the edges don't lie"). "I wrote that song with Jon Randall and Gordie Sampson, who suggested we try something in a 6/8 time signature — which is such a simple idea, but took us in a direction I might never have gone otherwise," she says. "To me the lyrics are a way of asking someone you're intrigued by, 'Who are you when all the shine and attention isn't on you anymore? Who are you really?'" Another track co-written with Randall, "Runaway Train" kicks the album into high gear as Jarosz serves up a bright and soulful love song built on a wildly sing-along-ready chorus ("You've got a heart like a runaway train/Screaming down the mountainside/Burning like a fever that you can't contain/Humming like the 405")."Coming out of the pandemic and playing shows again, I realized that a lot of the more uptempo songs in my set were covers," she says. "I wanted to write a love song that would give people that joyful feeling, and Jon and I had so much fun playing with all those images of California and Colorado and Texas Hill Country, which is where I grew up."

One of the most poignant moments on Polaroid Lovers, "Columbus & 89th" drifts into a dreamlike beauty as Jarosz reflects on the ineffable heartache of leaving her longtime home of New York City back in 2020. "New York signified this childhood dream that I'd had for so long, so moving to Nashville was like turning the page from youth to adulthood," she says. "'Columbus & 89th' ended up just pouring out of me once Daniel and I started working on it —there was so much nostalgia and melancholy that I needed to process, and now I still tear up whenever I hear it. As a songwriter my main goal is to tell the truth about my experience, and I think the fact that that song makes me so emotional means that I was tapping into real feeling." Written on the same trip that yielded "Columbus & 89th" (a journey to Alabama's Orange Beach with Tashian's family), "Days Can Turn Around" unfolds as a gently swaying folk song threaded with warmly delivered instruction for living well no matter what the circumstances (e.g., "Never turn down cold champagne/Don't change your plans for a little rain"). "Both of those songs have similar themes of thinking back and looking forward, but trying your best to be in the moment," says Jarosz. "With 'Days Can Turn Around,' I wanted to talk about all those little gems of wisdom you hear from you parents that end up taking on a whole new meaning when you finally become an adult."

As Jarosz reveals, her very first co-writing session with Tashian helped draw out the deep-rooted confidence that informed all of the album's creation. "That first day Daniel and I worked together we wrote a song called 'Take the High Road,' which is about taking the time to really know yourself and get comfortable in your own skin, even if it might take a little longer to get to where you want to be," she says. "There was something so beautiful about that being the first song we wrote for this album — it gave me the push I needed to not be afraid, to move beyond the boundaries and explore new sounds." A widely beloved musician whose past efforts include teaming up with fellow singer/songwriters Sara Watkins and Aoife O'Donovan to form the Grammy Award-winning trio I'm With Her — as well as appearing on albums by iconic artists like David Crosby and Amy Ray of Indigo Girls — Jarosz derived a particularly profound sense of purpose from the highly collaborative process behind Polaroid Lovers. "Maybe more than any record I've ever made, I felt so present and hyper-emotional with this album because I believed in it so much," she says. "It was so joyful to work with all these writers and musicians, and I think that joy really comes through."

Looking back on the making of Polaroid Lovers, Jarosz notes that shaking up her process ultimately left her eager to further expand her creative horizons. "It was a big step for me to reach out to Daniel, but in the end it showed me how important it is to keep taking thoughtful chances," she says. "This whole album reminded me that I never want to play it safe — if anything, I want there to always be that element of being a little scared, because that means I'm taking a risk. In a way that's what's so wonderful about art: if you're lucky, you never reach the finish line. You just keep searching and chiseling away at the stone, and putting everything you can into making something that tells the truth but hopefully leaves space for others to find meaning too."

Kessler Presents is committed to providing the safest environment possible for its upcoming shows and we appreciate your patience as we work toward a return to normal.  All our show staff are vaccinated and/or tested and will be wearing masks/face coverings.  In addition, we support the artists who request the additional safety protocols.

Specifically at the request of the artist, the following health and safety requirements have been implemented for all attendees at this show: Sarah Jarosz

In attending this event, you attest that you and all persons in your party:

– will provide a negative COVID-19 test result from a diagnostic test taken within 48 hours prior to attending the event;

OR

– fully vaccinated patrons may provide proof of vaccination by showing your vaccination card (at least 2 weeks after final dose), instead of negative test results.

We understand the challenges the virus has caused for all of us and truly appreciate your understanding. Like you, we look forward to the day when we are back to conducting business as usual.

Sarah Jarosz

With her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting, Sarah Jarosz has emerged as one of the most compelling musicians of her generation. A four-time Grammy Award-winner at the age of 30, the Texas native started singing as a young girl and became an accomplished multi-instrumentalist by her early teens. After releasing her full-length debut Song Up in Her Head at 18-years-old, she went on to deliver such critically lauded albums as Follow Me Down, Build Me Up From Bones, and 2016’s Undercurrent, in addition to joining forces with Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan to form the acclaimed Grammy winning folk trio I’m With Her.
In the making of her new album World On the Ground, the New York City-based artist collaborated with producer/songwriter John Leventhal: a five-time Grammy Award-winner known for his work with Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, and his wife Rosanne Cash. Working almost entirely on their own, the two musicians crafted a subtle tapestry of sound perfectly suited to Jarosz’s lyrical storytelling. In a departure from the nuanced introspection of her previous work, World On the Ground unfolds as a finely wrought collection of stories from her hometown of Wimberley, Texas (population:2,626), presenting a series of character sketches nearly novelistic in emotional scope.As she inhabits characters both real and imagined—exploring the tension and inertia of small-town living, the desire for escape and the ease of staying put—Jarosz reveals her remarkable gift for slipping into the inner lives of others and patiently uncovering so much indelible insight.
Taylor Ashton

Growing up in Vancouver, BC with his father, Taylor Ashton was always playing with words.  “My dad and his friends loved making up little jokes and verses, and they always encouraged me to write.  I think my dad was surprised that he had made this little person who was now making things of his own, and his encouragement made me believe I was some kind of poetic genius,” laughs Ashton.

While his childhood poems may have left something to be desired, Ashton’s debut solo album The Romantic, which came out in 2020 on Signature Sounds Recordings, thrilled fans with its satisfyingly clever, yet confessional and intimate songwriting.  Ashton primarily accompanies himself on the banjo, and the production on The Romantic is full and lush, and easily at home in the folk-pop world.  On his new EP Romanticize, however, the Brooklyn based musician presents re-imaginings of  songs from his solo debut, with everything from orchestral inspired string arrangements, to club dance beats and stripped down solo performances, giving us a window into the many avenues of his creativity, and the potential of his songs to transcend the boundaries of genre.

Ashton spent most of late teens and 20s as the frontman of Vancouver-based five-piece Fish & Bird, releasing four albums of heady progressive folk and gracing stages like the Winnipeg Folk fest, the Vancouver Folk Fest, and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival.  But as a Canadian, he felt somewhat trapped by geographical borders.  “There is an insane amount of talent in Canada, but I was really excited about all the music happening in the states, and I was frustrated not to be participating”, he explains.  After saving up money and going through the complicated Visa process, he made the move to New York City five years ago. “New York was everything I hoped it would be. I was going to mind-blowing shows every night, and meeting all kinds of people who were on missions to make cool music”. One of those people was Grammy-nominated songwriter and guitarist Courtney Hartman, with whom he released a 2018 duo album Been On Your Side. The album is an acoustic, stripped-down affair, which Rolling Stone had to admit, “packs a punch in today’s mainstream”.

The various collaborative production experiments on Ashton’s new EP Romanticize pay homage to his desire to constantly push boundaries musically and find new possibilities for his songs, as well as referencing some of the older musical chapters in his musical journey.  For example, the remix of “Nicole” by Pittsburgh based artist LiteShado finds Ashton’s vocals completely at home in a lo-fi hip-hop context, as his banjo rolls against crunchy  synth pads and electronic drum tracks.  Yet his new version of “F.L.Y.”, which is stripped down to just vocals and banjo, hearkens back more to his intimate duo project with Hartman. Nonetheless, the two tracks live comfortably side by side, revealing the vast and varied, and yet intrinsically connected potential of Ashton’s music.

Additionally, the EP contains two new songs, “Skeletons by the Sea”, and “Alex”, both of which feature vocals from his wife, Rachael Price, best known as the front woman for Lake Street Dive.  “Singing and playing with Rachael has been one of the strange blessings of this pandemic,” says Ashton.  “I feel like both of our musical worlds are complete without one another, but since we’ve been stuck at home we’ve been enjoying the opportunity to collaborate and sing together.”

Collaboration is a running theme for the new EP, on which Ashton sent his songs to remix artists Thom Gill, mmeadows, and LiteShado, as well as string arranger Kat McLevey to see what possibilities they might imagine for them.  “It was really inspiring to send these tracks out and say ‘what does this make you think of?’” he explains. “It can change the way you see your own songs, because they can mean something completely different to somebody else’s ears”.

It is a testament to both Ashton’s songwriting and his vocal abilities that his initial recordings can live many different lives, and Romanticize demonstrates this wholly and without argument.  “From a songwriting perspective, I’m only trying to write something that sounds like me” he says, “but in my mind I’m often hearing a song in a lot of different contexts.  Maybe it’s a disco song, maybe it’s a country waltz.  This EP is a chance for these songs to live in different spaces, and see what happens”.

Kessler Presents is committed to providing the safest environment possible for its upcoming shows and we appreciate your patience as we work toward a return to normal.  All our show staff are vaccinated and/or tested and will be wearing masks/face coverings.  In addition, we support the artists who request the additional safety protocols.

Specifically at the request of the artist, the following health and safety requirements have been implemented for all attendees at this show: Sarah Jarosz

In attending this event, you attest that you and all persons in your party:

– will provide a negative COVID-19 test result from a diagnostic test taken within 48 hours prior to attending the event;

OR

– fully vaccinated patrons may provide proof of vaccination by showing your vaccination card (at least 2 weeks after final dose), instead of negative test results.

We understand the challenges the virus has caused for all of us and truly appreciate your understanding. Like you, we look forward to the day when we are back to conducting business as usual.

Sarah Jarosz

With her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting, Sarah Jarosz has emerged as one of the most compelling musicians of her generation. A four-time Grammy Award-winner at the age of 30, the Texas native started singing as a young girl and became an accomplished multi-instrumentalist by her early teens. After releasing her full-length debut Song Up in Her Head at 18-years-old, she went on to deliver such critically lauded albums as Follow Me Down, Build Me Up From Bones, and 2016’s Undercurrent, in addition to joining forces with Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan to form the acclaimed Grammy winning folk trio I’m With Her.
In the making of her new album World On the Ground, the New York City-based artist collaborated with producer/songwriter John Leventhal: a five-time Grammy Award-winner known for his work with Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, and his wife Rosanne Cash. Working almost entirely on their own, the two musicians crafted a subtle tapestry of sound perfectly suited to Jarosz’s lyrical storytelling. In a departure from the nuanced introspection of her previous work, World On the Ground unfolds as a finely wrought collection of stories from her hometown of Wimberley, Texas (population:2,626), presenting a series of character sketches nearly novelistic in emotional scope.As she inhabits characters both real and imagined—exploring the tension and inertia of small-town living, the desire for escape and the ease of staying put—Jarosz reveals her remarkable gift for slipping into the inner lives of others and patiently uncovering so much indelible insight.
Ric Robertson

Hearing Ric Robertson for the first time, you’ll be forgiven if John Prine is the first name that comes to mind. Robertson’s voice has the same soft Southern burr as Prine’s, the same Zen acceptance of humanity’s failings, and, most importantly, the same sense of playfulness in the music. There’s a bit of Willie Nelson in there too, not just from all the smoke in the air, but from the colliding elements of jazz, funk, and country. Robertson’s an American original, pulling influences from the greats that came before, but wholly responsible for creating his own creative universe. When he’s not writing songs or playing music, his polymath personality fills time learning claymation, filmmaking, building puppets, learning pedal steel… He’s relentlessly creative, the musician’s musician, as testified by the fact that he’s continuously in-demand as a touring bandmate, playing with everyone from Rhiannon Giddens to The Wood Brothers. His new album, Carolina Child, coming July 30 on Free Dirt Records, is Robertson’s break-out moment, a fully-fledged multiverse of madcap ideas and creative anarchy. The album was produced by Dan Molad of Lucius, and features Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig from Lucius plus a whole host of Robertson’s friends, colleagues, and picking partners, drawn from all over the US: Dori Freeman and Nick Falk from Galax, VA, Gina Leslie from New Orleans, Sam Fribush of Greensboro, NC, Alex Hargreaves (Steve Martin, Kacey Musgraves) and Eddie Barbash (Jon Batiste) from Brooklyn, Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, Kai Welch, Logan Ledger, and Nate Leath (Sierra Ferrel) from Nashville. A guest list this large and varied is a testament to Robertson’s easygoing musicianship. He’s as comfortable backing up another artist onstage as he is leading his own band, and throughout he anchors his creativity in a sense of playful collaboration. “I just love music and I try to remain a student of it,” he says. “That’s where the playfulness comes in. I’m never going to master this, I’ll always be learning.” Humble words for an artist with an almost preternatural sense of the song, a gift for songwriting that brings him close to the legacy of Prine or Van Zandt, a songwriter who can shine a light on the harder edges of our humanity without losing sight of our hopefulness.

As a songwriter, Robertson takes his inspiration from the fragility of our inner lives, but also from the small moments packed with meaning that surround us. The clever wordplay of “Thinkin’ About You” came about while fingerpicking blues guitar on a New Orleans balcony and watching the sunlight refracting into rainbows from an oil slick on the city street. The psychedelia of “Sycamore Hill” was inspired by a week of isolation in North Carolina’s Hanging Rock State Park in a little cabin ringed by sycamores. “Harmless Feeling” was started by Oliver Wood and finished by Robertson and Carsie Blanton while the two were sheltering in a back alley as a Southern tornado swept through the nearby swamp. And while many of the songs came from small moments of introspection, they mirror the larger moments of life that hit us the hardest. Opening song “Getting Over Our Love” is a pitch-perfect encapsulation of the anxiety of losing love, a barroom tearjerker that Robertson masterfully undercuts with cosmic strings and synths. It seems clear from the arrangements, but psychedelics are a key part of Robertson’s creativity, a “tool” in his words. They fuel his gonzo vision of Americana, giving flight to his imagination and building a multiverse that ties together the worlds in each of his songs. This is John Prine by way of New Orleans, Harry Nilsson in a Nudie suit, a stoned Dr. John lost in Nashville, Bill Monroe on mushrooms listening to Bessie Smith. This riot of juxtapositions and creative chaos is anchored by Robertson’s soft, flowing voice, and his uncanny knack for tracking the what-if moments of our lives, the great times that could have been.

For years, Robertson has made New Orleans his home, glorying in the city’s constant flow of inspiration, and uncommonly adapted to the NOLA gig scene, which can see an artist moving between musical genres and gigs multiple times a night. In New Orleans, Robertson is as comfortable playing barrelhouse piano in the French Quarter as he is picking bluegrass tunes with friends on a back porch in the Marigny neighborhood, or recreating Neville Brothers’ funk lines with his band at a rehearsal space. But for all his love of Louisiana, North Carolina is where Robertson was born, raised, and discovered his passion for music and art. The title of the new album, Carolina Child, in fact, was inspired by an off-hand comment from New Orleans songwriter Esther Rose after she saw the look of delight on Robertson’s face as their tour van wound its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains of his home state. He’s a big believer in synchronicity, easily adapting to new currents and seemingly always in the right place at the right time to tap into the muse. 

Ric Robertson’s always looking forward to the next trip, the next idea, the next album. This spring he’s been recreating the rambling Americana roadtrips of the Dead and Ken Kesey, holed up in Kesey’s hometown of Eugene, Oregon jamming with friends and riffing on Garcia and Grisman tunes. He’s already got his next album written, a key practice for his boundless creativity. “I like to have my records written and recorded before another one comes out.” Robertson’s an artist that thrives on juxtaposition, seeing no difference between creating a new style of jamgrass with friends in Eugene or reworking funk instrumentals from the Carolina Child sessions into Strange World, his futuristic funk EP from 2020. “I’m pretty energetic in life, I stay super busy. I could break down the reasons why, but maybe better to have a therapist do it,” he laughs. “I just love making stuff. I love playing.”

A band of extraordinary chemistry and exquisite musicianship, I’m With Her features Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan. Collectively, the multi-Grammy-Award-winners have released seven solo efforts, co-founded two seminal bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still), and contributed to critically acclaimed albums from a host of esteemed artists. But from its very first moments, their full-length debut See You Around reveals the commitment to creating a wholly unified band sound. With each track born from close songwriting collaboration, I’m With Her builds an ineffable magic from their finespun narratives and breathtaking harmonies. The result is an album both emotionally raw and intricate, revealing layers of meaning and insight within even the most starkly adorned track.

Co-produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, Paul McCartney) and the band and recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in a tiny English village near Bath, See You Around delivers a warmly textured yet stripped-down sound that proves both fresh and timeless. To achieve the album’s intimate feel, I’m With Her recorded live in the tight confines of the Wood Room, all three members performing in the same room without monitors or headphones. With its piercingly lyricism, See You Around also finds I’m With Her showing the uncompromising honesty of their songwriting. That intensity is heightened by the band’s effortless harmonizing, which the New York Times has praised as “sweetly ethereal, or as tightly in tandem as country sibling teams like the Everly Brothers, or as hearty as mountain gospel.”

Layered with lush guitar tones and crystalline harmonies, See You Around’s title track opens the album with a breakup ballad of rare nuance (“It’s about coming to the end of a long relationship where you both run in the same circles, and that melancholy feeling of knowing you’re going to have to keep seeing that person again and again,” Jarosz explains). A bittersweet mood endures for songs like “Ain’t That Fine,” a wistful meditation on existential ups and downs that ultimately discovers solace in its reflection and reckoning (sample lyric: “I can’t believe the things I put my mother through/But it’s alright, I guess we all deserve our turn to be a fool”).

From track to track, I’m With Her infuses their sonic palette with so many unexpected and subtly captivating elements: the jagged guitar lines and chanteuse-like delivery of “I-89,” the percussive vocal phrasing of “Game to Lose,” the ghostly harmonies and eerie atmospherics of “Wild One.” At the same time, the band’s finely wrought lyrics gently shift from the darkly charged storytelling of “Pangaea” to the sleepy sensuality of “Ryland (Under the Apple Tree)” to the romantic travel tale of “Overland.” And on the Gillian Welch-penned “Hundred Miles”—a gorgeously understated track, and the album’s only song written outside the band—See You Around closes out with a world-weary but potent message of hope.

All through See You Around, I’m With Her exhibit a refined musicality that reflects their deep musical roots. After years of crossing paths in their intersecting scenes, the three musicians came together by happenstance for an off-the-cuff performance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in summer 2014. The very same day, a mutual friend texted them with a last-minute request to open a show that night at the Sheridan Opera House. “We had two hours to prepare for a 30-minute set and we said, ‘Let’s do it, let’s skip margaritas and rehearse,’” O’Donovan recalls. “We worked up six or seven songs in the bathroom, and then went on to this crazy-energetic crowd at one in the morning. I’ll never forget how amazing that felt.”

Later that year, Watkins, O’Donovan, and Jarosz met up in New York to prep for a series of European shows in early 2015, carefully crafting their own arrangements of songs by artists ranging from Jim Croce to Nina Simone. “When you’re arranging a song, you’re communicating in ways that sometimes can be really inefficient,” says Watkins. “But with us it felt like we were all in a similar rhythm.” As their chemistry continued to deepen, the trio soon founded I’m With Her and transformed the project into a fully realized band. “Once you decide it’s a band, you can put it higher on your priority list and give it more attention,” says O’Donovan. “The bar gets raised when something has an air of permanence about it, and that’s definitely been the case for us.”

Although I’m With Her spent most of 2015 performing at festivals around the world, the band also holed up for their first-ever writing session that summer in L.A. “By that point it had started to solidify that we travel well together, play well together, eat well together—it felt like we’d tested our compatibility in all these different zones,” says Watkins. And after just four days of writing, it was clear that their compatibility extended to the art of songcraft. “I loved the songs, we all loved the songs,” says Jarosz of that first batch of tracks penned in L.A. “I think that really sparked the flame for us to make a full record together.”

When it came time to get working on the record, I’m With Her convened at a borrowed farmhouse in Vermont and spent over a week carving out new material, leaving only to replenish their supply of Heady Topper beer. “We were completely on lockdown and didn’t interact with another human being for eight days,” says O’Donovan. “If you can get through that and, at the end, still be so excited about what you’re doing, then that says a lot about the whole creative flow as a band.” Jarosz adds: “A lot of times you approach songwriting as a solitary act, or maybe choose to write with one other person you feel comfortable with. It’s a whole other beast to have three people writing together, juggling all these different ideas and personalities. But somehow for us, all of the songwriting was just so seamless.”

In Vermont, the band settled into their creative stride, but when the additional voice of producer Ethan Johns was added to the process in the studio, they found themselves starting another round of learning and growth.  “Going into the recording, there were a lot of unknowns and a lot of questions,” says Jarosz. “It was a challenge for us to figure out how to make our vision and Ethan’s vision come together in a way that worked for everyone, and there was definitely some friction at times, but about halfway through we started to work it out.” With each member playing guitar and handling various aspects of the instrumentation— including fiddle and ukulele for Watkins, mandolin and banjo for Jarosz, piano and synth for O’Donovan—the band cut most of the album live and under exceptionally close-knit conditions. “Ethan had the studio so that we played all in the same room and facing each other,” Jarosz says. “There was really no separation between us at all.”

In looking back on the making of See You Around, I’m With Her note that a sense of unity has sustained in every step—including the moments when one member’s song idea failed to fly with the others. “If an idea doesn’t get accepted, it’s not like, ‘I’m a failure, this will never be heard,’” says Watkins. “You just move on to the next thing and put that idea aside for something else. We don’t have to be as precious with things, which really helps that forward-motion of creativity.” It’s exactly that dynamic spirit that, despite the album’s many moments of graceful restraint, imbues so much of See You Around with a powerful urgency—or, as O’Donovan, puts it: “In this band, there’s no time to get bogged down in what doesn’t happen. It’s all about what is happening.”

With her fourth album, Undercurrent, Sarah Jarosz makes a studied departure from her previous records, shifting the emphasis from her skills as a multi-instrumentalist to her songwriting and vocal performance. Undercurrent accentuates the growth and maturity that Jarosz, now 25, has achieved since graduating from New England Conservatory and moving to New York City. The change in approach garnered Jarosz two Grammy Awards in 2017-for Best Folk Album Year for Undercurrent and for Best American Roots Performance for “House Of Mercy”. She also picked up the award for 2017 Folk Album of the Year from Folk Alliance International for Undercurrent.

On Undercurrent, Jarosz delivers a set of all-original songs, centered around four solo pieces that set the tone of the record. Uncut Magazine describes it as “an enthralling journey from source to mouth,” and goes on to say “These are songs about the choices we make, the paths we take and the things we leave behind, a deep meditation on the invisible currents that guide us.” The Wall Street Journal notes “This economical approach brings the listener closer to Ms. Jarosz than on any of her previous recordings, and it suits the lyrical theme of passion that, mostly, is forbidden and unrequited.”

The Austin Chronicle’s Jim Caligiuri declared “For Austinites who’ve followed her since her early teens, the fact that Wimberley native Sarah Jarosz blossomed into one of the most stirring musicians of her generation comes as absolutely no surprise,” while Consequence of Sound”s Michelle Geslani noted the “startling sense of insight” in Jarosz’s compositions. NPR’s Katie Presley made note of Jarosz’s newfound maturity, praising her “uncharacteristically (and deliciously) unyielding” vocal carriage.