punch

Sarah Jarosz To Release "Follow Me Down" on May 17th

What Sarah Jarosz’s acclaimed debut, Song Up In Her Head, suggests, Follow Me Down—due out May 17, 2011 on Sugar Hill Records—confirms: she is constitutionally incapable of getting stuck in a rut. Her approach to acoustic music is expansive and vital; she sees no need to choose between old-timey and modern material; between picking, singing and writing; between experimenting and reviving tradition. She does all of it, and pushes it all further, on her new album.

“I definitely could have just made a record that was similar to the last one—pretty rootsy,” reflects Jarosz. “That would have been a representation of a side of me. But I have all these new sounds and ideas and I just didn’t want to hold back on this one.”

A lot has changed in the two years since the world outside the festival-going bluegrass and old-time music communities—home to many longtime Jarosz fans—was introduced to the young singer/songwriter/instrumentalist. Her music caught on quickly with audiences across the age spectrum. There have been GRAMMY and Americana Music Award nominations, a trio of Austin Music Awards, invitations to perform on “Austin City Limits” and “A Prairie Home Companion” and appearances at Bonnaroo, Newport and Telluride—and lots of digital downloading, a rarity for a roots act.

The most important difference is that Jarosz cannot be called a kid anymore. She’ll turn twenty within a week of Follow’s release. Instead of going straight to work as a full-time musician, as many before her have done, she left her hometown of Wimberley, TX—30 miles outside of Austin—and headed to Boston’s New England Conservatory to study contemporary improvisation on an elite scholarship.

“I wanted something to push me out of my comfort zone,” Jarosz says. “I wanted to be playing things that I might not normally play.” And she has had plenty of opportunities to do just that, from Jewish and world music ensembles at school to wildly unpredictable live jams with Punch Brothers and Mumford & Sons. That keen, open-minded attitude speaks volumes about her maturity.

Like her first album, Jarosz co-produced Follow Me Down with Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, John Prine, Chris Thile). Only this time, they had a college course schedule and high profile gigs to work around. They did a session with Punch Brothers in New York, another in Boston with her talented young trio mates Alex Hargreaves and Nathaniel Smith and several in Nashville with some of the acoustic world’s finest pickers and singers, including Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Viktor Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Shawn Colvin and Darrell Scott.

Jarosz’s growth can be felt throughout the resulting eleven tracks. The grooves are more adventurous, for starters on the first single “Come Around”.  She comments, “I know for some purists out there, it’s like, ‘Why do you have to have drums?’ For me, it’s like, ‘Why not?’” And she has explored alternative ways of using her already-strong voice (see her Radiohead cover “The Tourist” and Radiohead-inspired original “My Muse”; Bob Dylan’s folk hymn “Ring Them Bells” is the album’s other cover).

There’s no missing the breadth in Jarosz’s songwriting. She is just as comfortable penning the tragic old-timey “Annabelle Lee” - an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s final poem, or a modernized Appalachian ode to secret love like “Run Away” as she is cultivating contemporary singer-songwriter introspection in a song like “Here Nor There”. But her playing—be it on mandolin, octave mandolin, clawhammer banjo or acoustic guitar—never takes a back seat. She started “Peace”—one of two instrumentals on the new album—when she was twelve, and finished it at college. And it is that hunger to let her music keep growing—along with her formidable abilities—that make Jarosz so exciting to watch.

Punch Brothers @ The Boulder Theatre | 2/11/11

"Antifogmatic" is a bit of bygone slang that mandolinist Chris Thile and his bandmates stumbled across, an old term, explains the Punch Brothers founder, for a bracing beverage, rum or whiskey, that one would have in the morning before going out to work in rough weather, to stave off any ill effects." It's an apt title for the Punch Brothers' second Nonesuch disc. This ten-song set of collectively written material takes a clear-eyed view of those things less tangible than booze that can make us woozy: the pleasures and pitfalls of romance, the seemingly limitless possibilities and multifarious temptations of life in the big city.

The arrangements on Antifogmatic range from intimate to boisterous and back; genre-wise, the band once again ventures where no string band has ever gone before. The spare opening track "You Are" contrasts percussive guitar riffs with lyrical string parts that dance around Thile's sweet upper register as he spins a tale of romantic emancipation; occasionally, the other instruments give way to reveal the throb of the bass. The band also engages in some unexpectedly beautiful harmony singing, smoothing out the compelling melodic twists and turns of Welcome Home." "Me and Us" and "Woman and the Bell" both have a dream-like quality; the former, in fact, was inspired by those jumbled, thought-filled moments before sleep sets in, and the instrumentation keeps pace with the ever-shifting imagery. In contrast, "Don't Need No" and "Rye Whiskey" are foot-stomping barroom boasts and "Next to the Trash" is the closest the band gets to traditional bluegrass, even as the lyrics tug the piece in a more surreal direction.

"Our new record is a very pure collaboration," Thile emphasizes. "I would often come to the boys with a start, a little nugget, and we would collectively fashion it into something. None of these songs would have been like themselves if I had been left to my own devices. Several of them were starts that other guys had, and we would build from there. It's fun how liquid the writing process was on this."

The stories the Punch Brothers tell in Antifogmatic-partly autobiographical, partly imagine-were shaped by after-hours camaraderie as much as musical collaboration; they're ultimately about drinking everything in as well as drinking what's in front of them up, though there was plenty of that too. Concludes Thile, "The boys and I would work all day in one of our apartments and then we'd want to go out and have a drink. That's what you do in New York City, because everyone's apartment is too small to hang out comfortably in. We're a group of five guys. If friends start attaching themselves to the fray after that, you forsake the one-bedroom apartment and you go into the incredibly vibrant bar scene that isn't merely an encouragement for intoxication and spending obscene amounts of money per drink. It's really a wonderful way to get to know your fellow man, with your top button unbuttoned and your tie loosened a little bit."

More Info / Buy Tickets

Dierks Bentley Shares Details about UP ON THE RIDGE

Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley will release his artistically daring, acoustic new album UP ON THE RIDGE on June 8, 2010.  His fifth Capitol Nashville studio project is steeped in the bluegrass and roots music that moved Bentley to become a country musician in the first place.  The lead single and title track, inspired by time spent on a plot of land in rural Tennessee, will be released to country radio on April 12.

“I fell in love with this kind of music the first time I walked into the Station Inn with a fake I.D. at 19 years old … these guys, who were my age, were playing their instruments so hard it knocked your head back.   After that, I never missed a Tuesday night there in almost eight years,” explains Bentley.  “Without the whole bluegrass community taking me in, I would have had no place to start from.  It is my foundation.”

To preview a short film on the making of UP ON THE RIDGE, click here.
Produced by Jon Randall Stewart and engineered by Gary Paczosa, UP ON THE RIDGE is a document of an artist who’s using some well-earned freedom to write in a fresh vein and cook up collaborations with the musicians who fascinate him the most.  Dozens of talents have contributed in some way to this project.  Besides the five co-written by Bentley himself, the songs come from such varied sources as Bob Dylan, U2 and Kris Kristofferson. The monumental Kristofferson is here as a guest vocalist as well, along with a slate of today’s best traditional country singers, including Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson and Miranda Lambert.  And then there are the players, recruited from the top echelons of bluegrass and acoustic music. Among them: Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers, the Del McCoury Band, the legendary Sam Bush, dobro player Rob Ickes, guitarist Bryan Sutton, fiddler Stuart Duncan, and mandolinist Ronnie McCoury.

UP ON THE RIDGE TRACK LIST:
1. Up On The Ridge
(Written by Angelo Petraglia, Dierks Bentley, Background Vocals by Alison Krauss)
2. Fallin’ For You
(Written by Shawn Camp, Paul Kennerly, Background Vocals by Chris Stapleton)
3. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) (with The Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile)
(Written by Bob Dylan)
4. Rovin’ Gambler (with The Punch Brothers)
(Written by Jon Randall Stewart, Dierks Bentley)
5. Draw Me A Map
(Written by Jon Randall Stewart, Dierks Bentley, Background Vocals by Alison Krauss)
6. Bad Angel (Featuring Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson)
(Written by Verlon Thompson, Suzi Ragsdale)
7. Fiddlin’ Around
(Written by John Scott Sherrill, Shawn Camp, Jeff Austin, Background Vocals by Vince Gill)
8. You’re Dead to Me
(Written by Tim O’Brien, Jon Randall Stewart, Dierks Bentley, Background vocals by Tim O’Brien)
9. Pride (In The Name Of Love) (with The Punch Brothers featuring Del McCoury)
(Written by Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Dave Evans, Paul David Hewson)
10. Love Grows Wild
(Written by Julie Miller, Buddy Miller)
11. Bottle to The Bottom (featuring Kris Kristofferson)
(Written by Kris Kristofferson)
12. Down In The Mine
(Written by Jon Randall Stewart, Dierks Bentley, Background vocals by Sonya Isaacs)
Bentley will hit the road for a run of 24 shows in 30 days previewing the new music for fans across the country as part of his UP ON THE RIDGE tour. For a full list of tour dates, visit www.dierks.com.