Follow Me Down

[Sugar Hill]

If repeating yourself is a sure way to invite the sophomore jinx, then 19-year-old wunderkind Sarah Jarosz has blown that sucker to smithereens on her second album. Follow Me Down finds the Texas native branching out into adventurous newgrass styles with the help of Dobro king Jerry Douglas, banjo pioneer Béla Fleck, violin ace Stuart Duncan and other instrumental luminaries. Jarosz establishes a spooky ambiance on the opener, “Run Away,” aided by Shawn Colvin’s harmony, while her deft clawhammer banjo work on the mournful, Poe-inspired “Annabelle Lee” accents her pure, keening vocal style. Jarosz reaches a glorious peak during a collaboration with the Punch Brothers on Radiohead’s “The Tourist,” whose elegant acoustic setting builds to a dramatic peak of seamless ensemble playing. With an unwavering grasp of phrasing and a subtly poetic songwriting touch, Jarosz’s rapid maturation places her among the adventurous elite of acoustic music. –Bob Cannon

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