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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Major Milestone in Sarah's Musical Evolution
Sarah's 3 albums are evenly-spaced 2 years apart (2009; 2011; 2013) and show remarkable progress from one to the next, and none more so than between #2 Follow Me Down and this latest release, recorded during her final semester at the New England Conservatory. Her foundation in acoustic bluegrass roots that was so prominent in her debut Song Up in Her Head four years ago...
Published 16 months ago by Rufus T.

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars ok but first two are better
not nearly as good as "song in my head" or "follow me down" though it's much better than most music you'll find these days. her vocals are smooth, imo. i'd like to hear her jam but she seems to like to follow typical song structure with vocals. i bet she can rock that banjo...maybe in time.
Published 13 days ago by cm


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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Major Milestone in Sarah's Musical Evolution, September 24, 2013
By 
This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
Sarah's 3 albums are evenly-spaced 2 years apart (2009; 2011; 2013) and show remarkable progress from one to the next, and none more so than between #2 Follow Me Down and this latest release, recorded during her final semester at the New England Conservatory. Her foundation in acoustic bluegrass roots that was so prominent in her debut Song Up in Her Head four years ago is more of a distant echo of the past on Build Me Up From Bones. The songwriting is more sophisticated, the lyrical content more mature and personal, the singing more polished, and the music composition much more adventurous, diving into eclectic blends of folk, jazz, love ballads and even a light touch of neo-psychedelia.

Sarah made her name as a young mandolin prodigy and astounding vocalist with a musical sensibility far beyond her years. On this collection of 9 originals and 2 covers, she fulfills the early promise of her teenage years. The "bluegrass wunderkind" label has been relegated to the attic trunk - this is a fully-realized work of a grown woman with an old soul and 4 years of advanced musical education at a prestigious school that is tailored to help nurture geniuses in the field. By all accounts, NEC has served Sarah well. She has left her proverbial "comfort zone" behind.

A word of caution: people expecting a bare-bones, stripped-down rustic sound centered around a banjo or mandolin (akin to her debut record) will get fewer examples of that on this record. Sarah's mando is featured here on just 1 track (Joanna Newsom's 'Book of Right On') and her clawhammer banjo only on 'Fuel the Fire.' The rest of the album is dominated by her preferred instruments: the Fletcher Brock octave-mandolin, and her acoustic guitar. Much has been said of the project emphasizing her live concert trio configuration (Alex Hargreaves on fiddle; Nat Smith on cello), and that is true on 6 of the 11 songs. The other 5 make extensive use of session musicians and electric instruments, including Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Kenny Malone on percussion, Chris Thile on mandolin and Dan Dugmore on pedal steel and electric guitars. Also, as on her 2 other albums, guest vocalists appear on harmony, as well as overdubbed multi-tracks by Sarah herself. With the exception of the Dylan cover 'Simple Twist of Fate' (using only Sarah's voice and Nat's cello plucked like a bass), the album makes good use of the studio's tools to flesh-out the songs beyond the minimalist trio setup. Producer Gary Paczosa even indulges in employing audio special-FX on some tracks like 'Fuel the Fire' and 'Rearrange the Art' that couldn't be reproduced live without a soundboard equipped with ProTools. In fact, the latter track, which closes out the album, has a slightly late-60's psychedelic vibe coupled with jazzy Bela Fleck banjo stylings that showcases how far Jarosz's musical palette has expanded since 2009. If her sophomore album Follow Me Down was her Rubber Soul, this album is her Revolver, with a similar broad range of genres and influences that pulls the listener in to territories with fresh musical visions, showing Sarah's journey is taking her towards new horizons.

Ms. Jarosz is well on her way to establishing herself as a bona-fide original, creating a recognizable, idiosyncratic style drawn from numerous sources and forged into her own unique artistic identity.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She has broken from the pack..., October 31, 2013
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
What a vital and creative talent Ms. Jarosz is. It is expressed clearer here, in "Build Me Up From Bones," than in her first two fine endeavors. Her music has matured into something I've not heard before, and I've been listening to and playing bluegrass, folk, etc., for over 30 years.

OK...there's Alison Krauss, Sara Watkins, Aoife O'Donovan...all wonderful interpreters of Bluegrass/folk influenced song...and all with angelic voices. Before this album, I would have included Ms. Jarosz in this ethereal company...but no more.

There are multiple layers of music throughout. One would expect the usual suspects of mandolin, fiddle, banjo, et al. To my surprise these instruments are not at the forefront of many of her songs. Sometimes Ms. Jarosz chooses to brandish full throated electric instruments, and adds some serious doses of "electronica" in the form of reverb and echo. In the same mix she includes violins, cellos, and upright bass, melding the musical layers with both harmony and dissonance.

Her rendition of Dylan's, "Simple Twist of Fate," with only one instrument behind her, is an exercise in listening to a unique interpretation, while accompanied by soaring cello phrases.

How does one intertwine classical, rock, mountain, jazz, and folk music, blend them together, and create something that breaks away from all these genres?

Ms. Jarosz has done it. This is new music.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Traditional Folk--Songwriting Finally Matches her Fearsome Technical Skill, September 24, 2013
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (MP3 Music)
It was Sarah's cover of the The Decemberists' "Shankill Butchers" off of her 2009 debut when she was just 18, that first put her on my radar. Haunting with incredible technical skill on both the banjo and the mandolin--she was incredibly exciting and yet collectively both her debut and follow up record fell flat for me. Quite frankly, it always just felt like she didn't have much to say which in my eyes is one of the worst things in the traditional folk world. It can't just sound good--it needs to be torn from your soul. This is where all that changes.

"Mile on the Moon" has a crooning country atmosphere with an electric guitar giving it a little edge. Album title track "Build Me Up from Bones" is an early album standout and is a great example of how accessible Sarah can make traditional instruments sound. Soft and lilting with picked cello and fiddle notes, its refreshingly genuine and heartfelt. Sarah's take on Bob Dylan's "Simply Twist of Fate" is subtle with extremely minimal instrumentation--but sounds like its an original Jarosz song as she so completely owns it. Her other cover, "Book of Right-On" by Joanna Newsom is actually one of the album's few low points as it doesn't sound that different from the original as well as lacks Joanna's stunning quirk.

This album was produced by longtime collaborator, Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton) and also features a few guests spots with Chris Thile, Aoife O'Donovan, and Darrell Scott--but perhaps for the first time--the focus is consistently on Sarah and her band of two, Nathaniel Smith, and Alex Hargreaves. The music sounds more organic like it was all recorded together and less like it was just Sarah's parts with the rest dubbed. Her songwriting maturity is also on full display. Her use of second and third person has been replaced by Sarah finally being an integral part of the story. And finally, I think the third thing which sets this album apart is the more expansive tone. In the midst of finishing this album, Sarah graduated with honors from the extremely prestigious New England Conservatory--and I think everything she was exposed to there enabled her to both more more confident in her sound as well as branch out a bit.

Sarah is part of a very exciting movement of young people who love traditional folk music yet understand how to frame it within a more modern melodic palette. Highly recommend. For fans of bands/artists like Gillian Welch, Valerie June, Nickel Creek.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite artist, October 2, 2013
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
This native Texan continues to fuse new sounds and influences into her bluegrass roots, so that each of her albums expands upon her strengths while offering surprising delights. Buy this album for its solid songwriting, and you will keep playing it for its astonishing musicianship! I have always loved Dylan's Simple Twist of Fate, and to hear Sarah singing new depths into the song, to the bluesy accompaniment of Nathaniel Smith's gorgeous cello, proves the promise of this talented young artist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alt-country at its finest!, November 22, 2013
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
As fine as Sarah Jarosz's previous recordings have been, the young singer/songwriter/mandolinist has truly found herself on her new album. There's no touch here of Bonnie Raitt-, Alison Krauss- or Neko Case-wannabe on Build Me Up From Bones (Not that there's anything wrong with wanting to be any of those great singers, and Ms. Jarosz can flatter them better than just about anybody). But there's no imitation here. Ms. Jarosz' voice is as pure and original as it is powerful and seductive, even when she's covering other songwriters.

The album's arrangements are impeccable throughout. And while she has outstanding accompaniment from Chris Thile, Victor Krauss, Jerry Douglas and others, Ms. Jarosz may be at her very best on "The Book of Right-On, when accompanied only by her regular trio members -- Alex Hargreaves on violin and Nathaniel Smith on cello.

Build me Up From Bones is a stellar album from start to finish, and should firmly establish Sarah Jarosz and her band at the pinnacle of alt-country and "new grass." A must-have album, in my opinion!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Headed for super-stardom in the genre, December 24, 2013
By 
TiVe1963 (Charlotte, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
Wonderful live performer who can make it sound like the studio album - which this is. Very complex and difficult music that only a handful of people can perform. Album gets better and better with each listen. Bob Dylan cover is awesome. Great line up of musicians who all see that she is going to be Alison Krauss wattage - but more versatile instrument-wise, perhaps less vocally, but the jury may still be out on that as well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, very listenable experience, October 2, 2013
By 
Flash (Cleveland, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
First of all, let me say that Sarah Jarosz has made it onto my list of "must have" artists. I own all three of her CD's, including this latest, "Build Me Up From Bones". My assessment of this latest effort is that it is very good and it fulfills almost everything you'd expect from Sarah. This is folksy Americana, sung with delicate heartfelt vocals, smooth musicianship and with genuine respect to the genre. I'll add that Sarah Jarosz no doubt has a unique approach to her music and it is truly refreshing in today's music world. The only problem I have with this one is that is seems to be missing those hauntingly gorgeous standout songs like "Shankill Butchers" or "My Muse", two songs from her previous CD's that are truly amazing. My favorite song on this is "Mile On the Moon" because it does evoke a mood and a feeling that transcends the music. This is what Sarah does best, those moments when her vocals overlay the music, but go off into exciting places. "Gone Too Soon" is another song I really like. The rest are all good, but don't seem to bring out that unique quality of her vocals. The Bob Dylan cover "Simple Twist of Fate" was very average, unlike her treatment of "Ring Them Bells" on her Follow Me Down CD that was exceptionally good. My criticisms are minor. Purchase this CD and enjoy. Sarah Jarosz has talent and I think the best is yet to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BETTER LIVE, March 21, 2014
By 
M. Northuis (Greensboro, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
Although I think this is a very good album, decently written and expertly played I still
find it a bit too "clinical" for my tastes. I saw Ms. Jarosz on late night TV (Conan I believe)
and was duly impressed--and again if memory serves me right I think the song was
Over The Edge, my favorite on the CD. She and her cohorts tore it up and I had to
wait until an affordable copy came available to buy it.
Maybe it is the fact that she went to a prestigious musical academy that has overly "tightened"
her technique. For my tastes if she loosens up a bit and gets a bit grittier I will respond
more to her music. Her cover of Dylan's Simple Twist Of Fate is truly a banal by the numbers
rendition of a great song, listening to it I wanted to hear the Bob version instead.
To her credit along with the aforementioned Over The Edge--songs like Mile On The Moon,
1,000 Things and Rearrange The Art are all great songs.
Over all a great young talent that hopefully will get better with age and won't be ruined by
too much premature "success". Perhaps on her next album she can try a "live in the studio"
approach with generous amounts of libations to loosen up the proceedings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, November 1, 2013
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (MP3 Music)
Sarah certainly mellows with age...and expands her repertoire with this album. I enjoyed the bluegrass effect of her first two albums, but this one - a little jazz, a little country, a little bluegrass...and a lot of really great music. One note - this is not at all like her first 2 albums - it's way better...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent Album, October 29, 2013
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This review is from: Build Me Up From Bones (Audio CD)
Thoroughly enjoyed this CD, Sarah has a wondrous voice, comfortable song writing style, and excellent musicianship. This is her third album, each seems to get better. Most albums have a couple of really good songs. The first 5 songs immediately qualify and the remaining songs grow on you.
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Build Me Up From Bones
Build Me Up From Bones by Sarah Jarosz (Audio CD - 2013)
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