Sarah Jarosz – The New 45

Sugar Hill is preparing to release a “digital 45” from celebrated acoustic songstress Sarah Jarosz. Just 19 years old, this talented singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter squeezed in the recording of two new tracks during her summer break from Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, where she is attending on a full scholarship.

Like the 45 RPM records of old, Sarah’s new release will contain two songs: her original composition My Muse, and a new recording of Grandma’s Hands, the 1971 Bill Withers hit which has become a fan favorite on her live shows. She even pays homage to the little records with the big hole in the title for this new release, which will be called The New 45.

It goes without saying that the digital revolution has radically altered how music is recorded, marketed and consumed in the modern age. The power of the album as an artistic statement is greatly diminished, with the status of the single release gaining importance once again. But for true, long-time music fans (in the “fanatic” sense of the term), the demise of the 45 – with its classic A and B side format – is something of a loss.

Many of us recall purchasing singles where the A side served as an advance track from an upcoming LP, paired with a flip side that rarely received airplay, and may never have found its way onto a long playing album.

Well… Jarosz is hearkening back to that era, and a format that died out before she was even born. My Muse will be among the tracks on her next CD, but The New 45 is where you’ll have to go if you want a copy of Grandma’s Hands. She pays homage to an earlier era musically as well, not only in covering a ’70s radio hit, but in her new song which evokes echoes of both The Beatles and Joni Mitchell – but with acoustic guitars and mandocello.

The two new tracks will drop on November 2, just ahead of her scheduled November 6 appearance on Austin City Limits with Steve Martin. They will be initially offered only in digital format ($1.29 for the “45”), with a limited vinyl pressing coming available later in November, priced at $5.95.

We hope to speak with Sarah before the release date, and will post more early next month.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.