[click "Play", Susan speaks with Sarah Jarosz]
The 38th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival leads from strength with a performer who could well be the future of acoustic music. Sarah Jarosz opens the FirstGrass concert in Mountain Village. She is also scheduled for a set in Elks Park on Thursday, June 17, 2:45 p.m. But for sure, the rising star will make guest appearances on the Main Stage.
“Though she’s just 20, the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is earning critical praise and lots of national attention for her second album on Sugar Hill Records, Follow Me Down,” explains Planet Bluegrass’s Brian Eyster. “Sarah is being described by critics as the next big thing in Americana/roots music. In addition to her scheduled sets, I would expect to see Sarah also making Main Stage appearances with Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Punch Brothers and others.”
Sarah Jarosz is a singer/songwriter, and plays mandolin, octave mandolin, clawhammer banjo, guitar. She was born in Austin, Texas, May 1991, but raised in Wimberly. Sarah first picked up a mandolin at age 10. By 12, she had emerged on the music scene as someone to watch: jamming onstage with bluegrass icons David Grisman and Ricky Skaggs, she performed with a self-assurance that belied her years.
In 2009, Sarah left her hometown and headed to Boston’s New England Conservatory to study contemporary improvisation on a NEC Presidential Merit scholarship. Since then, she has stepped outside her comfort zone to play with Jewish and world music ensembles at school and sit in on live jams with Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers and Mumford & Sons.
“That’s not to say that I’m going to become a world music musician. But being exposed to all of that and learning it and absorbing it, it becomes part of your musical language and something that you can use in your own way to make what you do more unique.”
That keen, open-minded attitude speaks volumes about a maturity way beyond her years. In the two years since Jarosz’s first album came out, there have been Grammy and Americana Music Award nominations, a trio of Austin Music Awards, invitations to perform on “Austin City Limits” and “A Prairie Home Companion” and at Bonnaroo, Newport – and Telluride Bluegrass, where she will reunite this year with some of her picking partners and admirers: Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile and Tim O’Brien to name just a few.
O’Brien famously summed up Sarah’s formidable talents: “Sarah is a singer. She’s just flat got it.”
To learn more about Sarah Jarosz, click the “play” button and listen to her interview.