Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down (2011)

Sarah RM

Sarah Jarosz
Follow Me Down
Sugar Hill SHCD4062

Can America’s latest Roots sensation live up to the hype?

On first listen, Sarah sounds terribly English in her delivery and the overall album is a lot nearer to modern English Folk music than the Bluegrass/Nu-Folk that it’s meant to be. Presumably our friends in the Americas who are getting their knickers in a twist have never heard Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy or perhaps our own ‘new kids on the block’ the Carrivick Sisters.

To prove my point; Floating in the Balance and Here nor There owe a lot more to the Fairport’s and Sandy Denny than they do anyone of a Southern American persuasion that I can think of.

Young Sarah mixes in some very heady company these days and when she chose to cover The Tourist by Radiohead she was joined by the Punch Brothers who have helped her breathe new life into a particularly odd song. Sarah’s voice and Chris Thile’s mandolin are slowly joined by a series of other instruments; until the song builds up to a violin induced crescendo that has to be heard to be believed. I liked it – a lot.

Speaking of ‘heady company’ we also find stars like Shawn Colvin on Run Away, Bela Fleck on Come Around, Dan Tyminski sings on a very Celtic Annabelle Lee, Vince Gill providing Harmony vocals on the (nearest thing to Bluegrass) love song Run Away, and the legend that is Jerry Douglas adds Dobro to 6 tracks. Not a bad collection for a young woman on only her second album.

After playing FOLLOW ME DOWN constantly for the best part of a week I’m still underwhelmed by it all. I wish I hadn’t heard of Sarah before I picked up the CD, but it’s been difficult to judge the album without thinking about the ‘guest stars’ who are involved and the hype that is following her around the US.

FOLLOW ME DOWN is good; especially for a 19yr old, but no better than at least 10 albums that have been reviewed on No Depression this year alone.

By the time you read this review I presume the broadsheets and monthly magazines; who normally wouldn’t know Eliza Carthy from Eliza Doolittle will be fawning all over Ms Jarosz; so my opinion will count for nothing.

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