Sarah Jarosz

Follow Me Down (Sugar Hill)

Texas Platters

Sarah Jarosz

Follow Me Down (Sugar Hill)

Sarah Jarosz in bloom is a thing of beauty. Her sophomore album opens with an invitation to follow her down to the cotton fields and beyond, and we will because Jarosz delivers on the promise of her stunning debut two years ago, Song Up in Her Head. The multi-instrumentalist's second album for Nashville, Tenn.'s premier roots and bluegrass label measures the giant steps her songwriting has taken on Follow Me Down, even as her ear for covers lends itself to Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells" and Radiohead's "The Tourist." Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabelle Lee" shines in a gritty arrangement. Jarosz's unerring instinct for composition is once again masterfully shaped by producer Gary Paczosa, a partnership that brought her to dance first time round. Under that lead, Jarosz sings with joy, aplomb, and fervor on "Run Away," "Here Nor There," and "My Muse" while instrumentals "Old Smitty" and "Peace" keep tradition alive. That's the secret that will keep Jarosz's fans long following her into cotton fields or wherever she chooses to go.

***.5

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