Friday BBQ Spotify 12/20/13
Sarah Jarosz has already been nominated for a Grammy award back in 2009, and outside of the Austin music scene and close-in country circles, hardly anyone knows who she is. And that’s a shame, because she has one of the purest voices I’ve heard in country music for a long time, has already racked up some pretty impressive work, and she’s nominated for two Grammys again this year. I can only think her lack of exposure is due to being given the two death-knell classifications for country music – that of bluegrass, and roots music. And one of her Grammy nominations this year is in the folk category, another burial ground for the elimination of widespread airplay. If I could bang one thing into the head of younger-generation country music listeners, it would be this – quit rubber-stamping the latest woe-is-me, I’ve-been-drankin (no, that’s not misspelled), you-done-me-wrong crap that just keeps getting spit out one album after another, and start seeking out young artists like this, and other new groups like Little Big Town, The Band Perry, and The Milk Carton Kids. (I’ll be showcasing them soon.)
Sarah’s debut album in 2009 right out of high school had bluegrass master Jerry Douglas as a guest artist. To give that a sports analogy, that’s like Lebron James joining your high school basketball team because he thinks you have potential. The New York Times wrote that Jarosz is “widely regarded as one of acoustic music’s most promising young talents: a singer-songwriter and mandolin and banjo prodigy with the taste and poise to strike that rare balance of commercial and critical success.” I sure hope so, because she deserves the recognition. (Although did the NYT really have to say “acoustic music”? Why not just drive another nail in her coffin?) I like what an American Songwriter reviewer said better: “Jarosz invites us along with her into a growing sonic space of collaboration and artistry at this the second step in what will surely be a long and productive musical journey.” She’s even covered songs from rockers Radiohead of all people. iTunes can’t figure out what to do with her, having classified her music as everything from country to bluegrass to rock to the ever-ubiquitous “singer/songwriter.” I’ve already included Over the Edge in last week’s compilation of Grammy-nominated songs, and Here Nor There in a previous playlist showcasing new country artists, but they both deserve to be listed again. Wake up, younger generation. You’ve got a winner on your hands. When my Mom was alive, she used to always wonder why more country artists didn’t just focus less on creating pseudo rock-and-roll, and more on songs like the ones from predecessors to roots music like Patsy Cline and early Western Swing. Merry Christmas up in Heaven Mom, you’re gonna love this one. Have a warm and safe time this last weekend before Christmas everyone. I’ll be back next week with a list of my favorites for 2013. For now, light a fire if you can, relax with those you love, and listen to something that I hope will warm your heart.