Okra and tomato soup at Williams Hardware cafe in TR. Good eatin’. (at The Cafe @ Williams Hardware)
Sarah Jarosz impresses Peace Center crowd
By Neil Shurley
The lights reflected off the instruments, illuminating in flashes the large Peace Center crowd. It was the closest thing to a special effect on display, but that doesn’t mean there was no spectacle. Fingers dancing, bows flying — three musicians on a bare stage demonstrated the simple joy of hearing stringed instruments masterfully played.
Sarah Jarosz made her first Greenville appearance Saturday night, and was enthusiastically received by an appreciative crowd. Just 21 years old and a month away from college graduation, Jarosz is already a veteran performer, with a Grammy nomination to her name. She’s something of a prodigy, demonstrating impressive banjo, guitar and mandolin skills. She’s also an engaging singer and talented songwriter. On top of all that, she’s got a disarmingly pleasant stage presence. “You guys are awesome!” she told the crowd several times.
Accompanying her were Nathaniel Smith on cello and Alex Hargreaves on fiddle. Together, the three were simply dazzling.
Sounding like a sort of cross between folk, jazz, and bluegrass, Jarosz played her own songs as well as several winning covers, including a fantastic interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate.” The trio created complex and layered rhythms that seemed to transcend what you typically expect from stringed instruments. Smith’s cello playing, in particular, was nothing short of amazing, shifting from a flashing bow to plucked strings in an instant, propelling the music forward with practiced intensity.
Other highlights included Jarosz’s moving adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe poem, “Annabelle Lee,” the fiery instrumental “Old Smitty,” and a heartfelt solo performance of Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song.”
The variety and virtuosity on display indicated a depth and range that will serve Jarosz well in years to come. In fact, I can see her appeal extending beyond country and roots music fans. It’s not a stretch to imagine Sarah Jarosz winning over classical music crowds and collaborating with imaginative groups like the Kronos Quartet, extending her own range as well as that of the classical repertoire. I look forward to seeing where her career takes her.
Jarosz told us that Saturday night’s crowd was probably the largest she’s ever had, and the Peace Center was certainly the biggest venue she’s ever played. Judging from the crowd’s response, she’d better get used to it.
Listen to the show here:
YLC at the Square
New Orleans, LA
What a show!