Steve Martin, Sarah Jarosz on Austin City Limits

The Austin Chronicle has a piece, published on April 28, about the most recent taping of Austin City Limits the night before.

Featured on the program, which will air nationally on PBS at a later date, was young Texas songstress Sarah Jarosz, who was born in Austin and raised not an hour away in Wimberley. The Chronicle’s Jim Caligiuri described her performance thusly…

Accompanied by two equally talented teenagers – 18-year-old Alex Hargreaves on fiddle and 16-year-old Nathaniel Smith on cello – Jarosz concentrated on songs from her acclaimed debut, Song Up In Her Head. Only occasionally did her youth show, like when she exclaimed, “Austin City Limits!” and shook her fist after opening with the stark, beautiful “Tell Me True.” Otherwise, it was all big smiles and impeccable musicianship.

There were moments when their interplay recalled the morose yet exhilarating style of Lyle Lovett, others when Jarosz’s growth as a songwriter brought to mind performers as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega, or Gillian Welch. “What can I say, this is a dream come true,” she gushed before leading the audience in a sing-a-long of Tom Waits’ “Come On Up to the House” and earning a standing ovation. Her first ACL appearance, but surely not her last, and now all in attendance can say, “I knew her when…”

Also at this same taping was Steve Martin with Steep Canyon Rangers, who will appear on the show when it airs. Caligiuri gave a preview of what to expect.

The comedian’s goofiness extends to his songwriting at times, but he’s also a superb banjo picker and the backing was nearly flawless. Most of the set came of his Grammy- winning LP, The Crow: the straight-up country of “Daddy Played the Banjo,” dexterous banjo workout “Hoedown At Alice’s,” and fancy newgrass of “Saga of the Old West.” After “I Can’t Sit Down,” a stunning gospel a cappella by the Rangers, Martin joined in for the raucous “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs.” The punch line: “Atheists just have the blues.”

Read the full article online.

Austin360.com has a piece on Sarah’s set at the ACL taping, which includes set lists from both acts.

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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.

  • jimc

    Sarah’s 2009 album, “Song Up In Her Head,” is not very bluegrassy, but it’s my favorite album of last year. The songs, arrangements, and groove are really phenomenal. This music is sophisticated enough that you might guess it’s her 5th album, not her first. The fact that she’s just 19 or 20 portends a lot of great music from her over the years. I can’t wait for her next album.