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Song Up In Her Head

96 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 16, 2009
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Product Description


I could tell you what a tremendous musician, natural singer, and precocious writer she is, or I could simply tell you that I and everyone I know in this tight-knit community can't wait to play some more music with Sarah Jarosz. -- Chris Thile (Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers)

Proof that the future of music itself is certain to be full of virtuosity, passion, integrity, deep beauty, and soul. -- Abigail Washburn
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 16, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugar Hill
  • ASIN: B00284G2HG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,621 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Gilmer on June 26, 2009
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I found out about this album by being on the Sugar Hill Records mailing list and bought it three days ago. The songs have been "up in my head" ever since. This is a post-newgrass album, with acoustic instruments paying tribute to but never being constrained by bluegrass and folk/roots tradition. The album is as musically complex and precise as Nickel Creek was, which makes it a really smart record to listen to and stands in tribute to Jarosz' skills as a songwriter.

But what has the album stuck in my head and on repeat on my mp3 player is her beautiful singing voice. Such amazing control of her pitch, with almost no trace of vibrato, and somehow she makes it seem effortless. It's a deep, rich alto that reminds me at various moments of Fiona Apple, Melissa Swingle (Trailer Bride, The Moaners) and Karen Peris (Innocence Mission).

Her personal backstory -- being barely out of high school -- is fun and inspiring, but if someone played this album for you without telling you, you'd never know. Though her lyrics have the optimism and centeredness of youth, her voice sounds layered with 10 years of adulthood.

Come to Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, Ms. Jarosz, and I'll be in the front row. This is great work, and I look forward to your next albums.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Nobody important VINE VOICE on January 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Sarah Jarosz is not what you might expect. She is a prodigy in a genre that appeals to child prodigies. A child prodigy's first bluegrass album tends to be a flashy demonstration of instrumental skill with relatively ordinary compositions and arrangements. Jarosz is as un-flashy a player as you are likely to hear. She rarely cuts loose with a jaw-dropping display of instrumental skill, preferring a minimalist approach. The arrangements, too, are stripped-down, allowing the listener to appreciate the subtle interplay between just a few sympathetic musicians. The compositions themselves are far more advanced than what most musicians several times Jarosz's age can write, combining old-time, Celtic and blues with distinctly modern rhythms. Most surprising, though, is Jarosz's voice. Most kids show their age when they sing. Personally, I am not a fan of overly-clean singing voices, particularly in bluegrass, and most young women Jarosz's age who sing have saccharine voices. I will use an "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" comparison because I expect that most readers will get the reference: Jarosz is far closer to Gillian Welch (one of my favorite musicians of all time) than to Alison Krauss (another former child prodigy). Her voice is a bit lower than most female singers (particularly her age), and has just the right amount of weather-beaten quality that a bluegrass singer needs. She also eschews the excessive vibrato that some young and gifted singers fall into the pit of using. In short, Jarosz is the most promising young bluegrass musician to arrive on the scene in years.

There is an obvious temptation to compare Jarosz to Nickel Creek, a group of child prodigies with progressive bluegrass sensibilities.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Colin Spence on July 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm at a slight loss for words in trying to describe the rather alluring music on this album; to my ears, it has quite an unusual sound - but I'm not sure whether this is because it IS unusual, or simply because I don't listen to this type of music very frequently. The music is a refreshing mix of contemporary folk, 'newgrass', blues and pop.

I'd describe SJ's voice as a 'bluesy-folksy' alto, and she employs a mature phrasing and delivery which belies her tender age (it's difficult to believe that she was only 17 when the album was recorded). She is not an especially powerful singer, and there are some odd occasions when her vocals tend to blur into the instrumental accompaniment. The playing, including that of SJ herself, is mighty impressive - fluent, vibrant, delicate and sometimes intricate, both as solo and as ensemble playing. Instruments featured most prominently are banjo, fiddle, and mandolin; other instruments played include cello, guitars (acoustic, Weissenborn slide, National resonator, dobro and pedal steel) and keyboards (piano and synths); bass is acoustic, and percussion is played on 3 tracks only. The album is 'semi-instrumental' - i.e. vocals and instrumentals are shared about 50/50 on many songs, and there are 2 all instrumental tracks.

There are 11 songs written by SJ plus 2 covers. Her own songs tend not to conform to the more usual verse/chorus/bridge patterns; instead, it strikes me that she writes from the perspective of a musician/song-arranger - at least, more so than that of a 'conventional' singer-songwriter.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By E. Brenner on June 16, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard Sarah Jarosz interviewed in NPR and couldn't wait until I could download her album today. Somewhere I heard her referred to as a "wunderkind" -- and I hope and believe she achieve great commercial success with her albums. I think her talent and ambition reflects a huge success already achieved.

Her mastery of musical instruments is amazing -- I can't wait to see how she grows as her skills evolve. But then her voice! It's kind of understated, mature yet not overly sophisticated, so it complements and is complemented by the mandolin/banjo/guitar. Her voice also surprises. You will just have to listen to see what I mean.

I haven't been this excited about an artist in a long time! Sarah is someone very special.
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