Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz is just a week away from releasing her new album, Undercurrent. Though it’s her fourth full-length to date, it marks an all-new chapter in the Grammy-nominated musician’s life — something of a rebirth, even — and reflects the sea changes in her life over the past few years.
“Undercurrent feels like an album of many firsts,” Jarosz tells Consequence of Sound. “It’s the first record I’ve made while not simultaneously being in high school or college, so I was able to devote my full attention and schedule to the writing and recording process.”
She adds, “It’s the first record I’ve made since moving to New York City almost three years ago.” Inspired by her surroundings in the Big Apple, “most of the songs and imagery were inspired by my time spent here, specifically around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park,” she says.
The 11-track effort features no covers, yet another left-field move for the cover-loving Jarosz. Instead, “the record is anchored around four completely solo performances, and throughout the rest of it I’m joined by some of my favorite musicians on the planet, many of whom were co-writers [such as Sara Watkins] on some of the songs.”
There’s a genuine yet subtle richness to each and every one of the selections, as well as a startling sense of insight. There’s the sobering intensity of “House of Mercy” and the tremble and curl of guitars on the sentimental “Back of My Mind”. Meanwhile, opening track “Early Morning Light” combines gentle finger picking and Jarosz’ simmering anxiousness (“All my troubles just begun…”), and one can just imagine gazing upon a newly dewed, majestic Central Park in an attempt to to escape a heavy heart.
As Jarosz notes, Undercurrent represents her in the here and now better than anything else could:
“The two definitions of the word undercurrent totally encapsulate the vibe of this record to me: 1. An underlying feeling or influence, especially one that is contrary to the prevailing atmosphere and is not openly expressed; and 2. A current of water below the surface, moving in a different direction from any surface current. The songs on this album embody those feelings and images in life, longing, looking back, and most importantly, looking forward.”
Stream all of Undercurrent below.
Undercurrent, which was co-produced alongside Grammy winner Gary Paczosa, officially drops on June 17th via Sugar Hill Records. Pre-order it here.
01. Early Morning Light
02. Green Lights
03. House of Mercy
04. Everything to Hide
05. Back of My Mind
06. Comin’ Undone
07. Take Another Turn
08. Lost Dog
09. Take Me Back
10. Still Life