I have a special place in my heart for traditional American music. This means mostly bluegrass music, but the genre has broadened over the years, due to talented bluegrass artists who move beyond their traditional roots. My introduction to bluegrass was through Alison Krauss and over the years, I have been introduced to several other artists who harken back to the traditional.
My latest obsession is Sarah Jarosz.
Sarah is a prodigy who was signed during her senior year of high school by Sugar Hill Records and has received formal training at the New England Conservatory of Music, earning a degree in Contemporary Improvisation. Sarah has released four albums of the highest quality and her latest is entitled Undercurrent. Sarah has a wonderful soprano voice and handles several stringed instruments with great aplomb. Slate magazine has described her as “… journeying toward some sort of platonic ideal that combines elements of old-time folk music, bluegrass, pop and art rock into a distinctly American whole.” Sarah has opened up her gifts by joining others in trios and duets, including the wonderful song and video for “House of Mercy” which pairs her voice with a regular collaborator, Jedd Hughes. You also should check out Jedd’s version on the Bob Dylan classic “Lay Lady Lay.”
While bodysurfing through the internet, I was introduced to another roots artist, Elizabeth Cook, who hails from Wildwood, Florida. Elizabeth is a regular at the Grand Ole Opry and also hosts the “Apron Strings” show on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel. Cook burns with an intense heat but has the slightest and sweetest voice you will hear. I suggest you listen to her cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” and then delve into her catalog, which includes gems such as “Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman.”
We’ve created a playlist on our Punky Mom’s Youtube Channel for you.
Americana Track List
Sarah Jarosz – “House of Mercy”
Jedd Hughes – “Lay Lady Lay”
Elizabeth Cook – “Pale Blue Eyes”
Elizabeth Cook – “Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman”
Any Americana artists you are a fan of? Let us know.