World On The Ground

World On The Ground

Sarah Jarosz was already so accomplished as a picker, singer, and songwriter by her late teens that she quickly surpassed celebrated prodigy status to become a leading voice in the acoustic scene—on the strength of both her solo work and the trio that’s been her focus in recent years, I’m With Her. While writing her fifth album, World on the Ground, Jarosz reflected on how far she’s traveled, in both geography and perspective, from her small-town Texas upbringing; attended her 10-year high school reunion; and took up a theme central to the folk, string band, and country lineages she’s studied: the pull of home. In “Hometown,” she describes the experience of returning as a quietly conflicted one. “What makes a life complete?” her narrator muses serenely over a fingerpicked guitar figure. “Roads traveled and people you meet? Or is it just the silence of the times in between?” “Maggie” is an elegant acknowledgment that there can be lasting yearning for another place whether someone chooses to stay or go. Jarosz’s new choice of producer, John Leventhal, helped her sophisticatedly capture the expanse of her sensibilities, from the old-time-style banjo tune “Little Satchel” to the sparkling, studio-cured folk-rock of “Johnny” and “I’ll Be Gone,” the orchestrated pop of “Pay It No Mind,” and the dusky, jazz-influenced subtlety of “Orange and Blue.”

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