The Prodigious Talents of Sara Jarosz
|"Oh, hold on…"|
The words came from Sarah Jarosz, as she aborted the introduction to her penultimate song. The banjo caused the problem. It was in the wrong tuning - the closest thing to a glitch, in what was a captivating performance at St Bede’s Club in Chorley.
Still only 21, Jarosz is the already the recipient of one Grammy nomination. She came to the attention of many in this country through her participation in the BBC’s Transatlantic Sessions, where she shone, even in the company of Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and others of a similar ilk. At this Mr Kite benefit gig, in aid of Galloway’s Society for the Blind, she merely confirmed her status as a musician of rare ability.
On a two week tour of the UK, there were the usual accompanists, Nathaniel Smith on cello along with fiddle player Alex Hargreaves, both of whom are accomplished musicians in their own right, and the sound from the trio was impressively full. Jarosz herself is more than proficient on banjo, guitars, both tenor and conventional and octave mandolin. She can probably ride a unicycle and juggle at the same time as well.
The material was varied in tone, pace and origin. There were self-penned compositions mixed in with those from contemporaries and a smattering of traditional numbers.
An early highlight was the outstanding Runaway from her Follow Me Down album, although it suffered a little from a lack of harmonies on the high notes. Colin Meloy’s Shankill Butchers was delivered in gentle, lilting fashion, in contrast to its bloody subject matter, and Red Dog in the Morning from Tim O’Brien, packed a ferocious rhythm, as did a clutch of instrumentals. Anabelle Lee not for the only occasion, gave rise to a hairs-standing-on-the-back-of-your-neck moment, once the tuning problem had been sorted..
Jarosz has an easy and unshowy stage presence. At one point she expressed surprise that anyone attended her gigs given that she’d "come across the ocean." This was at odds with the audience, who by this time were devising ways to stop her leaving the country.
A standing ovation after the one encore was entirely fitting. When she returns Sara Jarosz is likely to be filling the bigger venues. Those present on this evening left warm in the knowledge that they’d had a close up view of an artist who is truly special.
Mr Kite Benefits
Galloway’s Society for the Blind
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