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Sarah Jarosz explores new feelings, new sounds on latest album, ‘Undercurrent’

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By Gary Graff

ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com

@GraffonMusic on Twitter

Sarah Jarosz acknowledges that there’s an “Undercurrent” to her fourth album.
The set — which follows 2013’s Grammy Award-nominated “Bring Me Up From Bones” — is the first the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Austin, Texas, has released since she moved to New York. And while Jarosz, 25, doesn’t consider “Undercurrent” a concept album, she does feel the move fueled much of what she wrote about on the album.

Sarah Jarosz performs Thursday, July 7, at The Ark in Ann Arbor (Photo courtesy of Sugar Hill Records)

Sarah Jarosz performs Thursday, July 7, at The Ark in Ann Arbor (Photo courtesy of Sugar Hill Records)

“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” Jarosz says by phone from Boston. “It definitely was inspired by the last three years I’ve spent living by myself in New York. I’ve had more alone time than ever before in my life, so I think I was able to just have the chance to step away from things and little bit and really evaluate those feelings and the kind of push and pull and life and loneliness ad love and all those things we deal with on a daily basis.
“Some of the imagery of my time in New York definitely came into play, too — the reservoir in Central Park and that kind of stuff. There’s a lot going on in these (songs).”
But, Jarosz adds, this has not been a totally melancholy time for her, and she worked hard to prevent the album from seeming too dark or sad.
“That’s a constant balancing act of allowing yourself to really observe those emotions but not get beaten up by them,” she says. “For me, writing songs is the way that I can channel a lot of that energy and do something positive with it.”
Sonically, meanwhile, “Undercurrent” — which came out last month — is at once Jarosz’s most fully realized album but also one of her most open and sparely arranged. “I wanted to capture a more sparse, fun side,” she explains. “In the past I’d start off with my thing and sort of build it up with tons of overdubs and guests and things.
“This time I wanted to focus the energy on the performance of it and not add a lot if it didn’t need it. I was adamant this time around about wanting to keep it really true to the bare bones of the songs, and I think it turned out great, and really different from what I’d done before.”

IF YOU GO

What: Sarah Jarosz
Where: Ardmore Music Hall, 23 Lancaster Ave., Ardmore.
When: Sunday, July 31.
Info.: Check www.ardmoremusic.com or www.sarahjarosz.com.

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