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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment September 20, 2017

9/5/2017 12:11:00 PM
Grammy-winner Sarah Jarosz to play Sisters Folk Festival
Sarah Jarosz will play a 90-minute set on the opening night of the Sisters Folk Festival. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Sarah Jarosz will play a 90-minute set on the opening night of the Sisters Folk Festival. photo provided

By Ceili Cornelius

Americana singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz will be playing as a headliner at this year's Sisters Folk Festival, bringing with her a very eclectic music background and influence.

"I come from a bluegrass background, but today, I more describe my music as folk and Americana. I tend to shy away from genre names because I feel influenced by so many different genres. They all find their way into my music," Jarosz told The Nugget.

Jarosz has been involved in music pretty much her whole life. She started singing and playing mandolin at 10 years old and has always been interested in music as a career. She attended music camps throughout her teenage years.

"When I was 16 was when I really started to get serious, and my music career had a turning point," she recalled. "I had my first set at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and that is where I met Gary Paczosa and he helped me get my first record deal with Sugarhill Records, and now shares production duties with me on my albums."

She signed that first record deal at 16 years old and has been involved in music ever since.

Jarosz was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up in Wimberley, just outside of Austin. She lived there until she went to college.

"Austin was an amazing place for me to grow up, with such an up-and-coming music scene. In Wimberly, I attended bluegrass jams and would learn from musicians at a very young age. My parents are also big music-lovers and would take me to live concerts which was where I caught the music bug," said Jarosz.

Asked what her musical inspirations were, she said her original inspiration came from her mother.

"My mom was one of my first inspirations; she encouraged me to write my own songs when I started showing interest around 12 years old. I would see printed lyrics of hers and would emulate her form and style while writing my own songs," said Jarosz.

One of her biggest influences was the music of Gillian Welch, and she based her songwriting style off her ways.

"Later on, a lot of my inspiration came from artists like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. As time goes on, I learn new things about their songs and about them which helps me to hone my craft even more," said Jarosz. "I try to also listen to the world around me, and that usually sparks something that then becomes a song."

Her most recent album, "Undercurrent," was released in June 2016. It won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album along with the song "House of Mercy" winning the Grammy for Best American Roots Performance. It is Jarosz's fourth record.

"It is quite different from my previous three; it is more stripped down," she said. "I did that as a conscious decision because the songs I was writing felt like more intimate songs that didn't need as much behind it. There are four songs that are solo, just me and a guitar."

On her previous albums, she said, she spent a lot of time in the studio adding dubs and full bands behind her, and there are still elements of that on Undercurrent, but she wanted this album to feel more personal and intimate.

Jarosz tours with bass player Anthony da Costa, a well-known folk and Americana singer-songwriter. She will be bringing him with her to SFF.

"I've been hearing about this festival from my friends in Oregon in the music scene and they've said it's one of the best festivals, so I'm very excited to be coming for it this year," said Jarosz.

Jarosz will be playing one 90-minute set on Friday, September 8. For more information visit

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