im with her

I’m With Her
Rounder Records

The Perfect Soundtrack to the Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer.

I’m not sure what constitutes a ‘Supergroup’ these days especially in the Roots world; but a combination of Sara Watkins, Aiofe O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz must surely deserve such a title, shouldn’t it?
The short history is that these three musicians got together for an impromptu show in 2014 which was such a success (surprise, surprise) that the trio have played together as often as schedules have allowed in the intervening years, receiving incredulous reviews and eventually the recording of this album in London with Ethan Jones at the controls.
It’s easy to see from the opening song See You Around what all of the fuss is about. At face value it’s a simple Country-Folk song; but when you actually ‘listen to it’ the intricate harmonies should normally only come from siblings; but the three disparate voices don’t just compliment each other but sound like a Summer breeze blowing through a field of wild flowers; and the ladies’ musicianship is nothing short of exemplary too.
You could easily play this one song over and over again and still be happy; but no there is more and…..even better to come.
As you would expect the lead vocals and songwriting are shared around fairly equally; and it would be a little unfair to single out any single singer for high praise; as it’s the ‘overall sound’ that this album is all about; playfully moving seamlessly from the more traditional Folk songs like Pangaea and Ryland (Under The Apple Tree) through to a more contemporary Country Folk ‘feel’ on Game To Lose, Crescent City and I-89 without you ever seeing the joins.
Personally I’ve appreciated but never really got into the solo work by these three ladies over the years; but together they have certainly won my heart here; with two songs in particular making my heart beat faster than it is meant to.
Close It Down is a very clever song when you pick apart the lyrics; but that doesn’t come until you have had your senses left tingling by the way the three voices swoop and soar like butterflies in the Garden of Eden; and that’s not even my favourite song here!
Regular readers and my friends will tell you that I’m no lover of Folk Music; but if it all sounded like Ain’t That Fine I would grow a beard and start wearing badly fitting jeans in an instant! That said, a lot of this record actually reminds me a bit of the early Dixie Chicks….so is it Country? Country-Folk? Who the Hell cares what pigeon-hole it might fit in; because it doesn’t…….it’s ROOTS MUSIC at it’s best.
I’m writing this review on a bitterly cold February afternoon with heavy snow forecast for the next few days and SEE YOU AROUND is the perfect soundtrack to a day just sitting in the living room just as much as it will be in Spring and more importantly those hazy, lazy days of Summer.

Released 23rd February 2018


3 thoughts on “I’m With Her – SEE YOU AROUND

  1. Alan, once again our tastes in music are very similar and I concur that this album is absolutely terrific. However, I have been a massive, long time fan of Sara Watkins (both solo and since her time with Nickel Creek), same goes for Aiofe O’Donovan (both solo and since her time with Crooked Still) and I’ve always liked the understated, versatile Sarah Jaroz. So whether they are performing solo or in their previous groups or as “Im with her” they have all been on my “must see list” whenever possible. We were lucky to catch an early “Im with her” at the Sage on 24/04/2015 and am really looking forward to their return on 14th. May. I’ve played this new album through 4 times now and it (like most really good CD’s) just gets better and better. I’m reluctant to say they are Folk though, but it’s just as difficult to say that they are Country or Bluegrass or whatever, so I guess the current pigeon-hole of Americana is more of a fit. And, any music that is difficult to place within a specific genre has always been more than welcomed by me. At the end of the day, it’s quite simply damn good music played by three very talented musicians who just happen to be friends that enjoy playing together. I’ll probably see you at the gig.


    • An enormous let-down of an album. It should have packed a wallop given the talents involved, but instead it’s an under-written, under-focused meander of a listen. Point a big finger at producer Ethan Johns, whose inherited advantage in life has led to an over-inflated regard for his skills.


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