Polaroid Lovers

Sarah Jarosz

Rounder, 2024


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


It’s tough being a prodigy.

For every successful Stevie Wonder, Daniel Barenboim, or Ellen Araverdyan, there are those who make questionable life choices or just get burned out (I’m looking at you, Shannon Curfman. Kid Rock’s backing band? Really?)

Then, of course, there’s Sarah Jarosz. She recorded her first album at 18, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Follow Me Down (featuring such luminary guests as Chris Thile and Jerry Douglas); in the 13 years since then, she has produced six more albums, has been nominated for ten Grammys (winning four), and picked, strummed, and sung her way to Americana/roots music stardom.

Her latest release, Polaroid Lovers, is both brilliant and a bit of a departure from her past work. Given the first song she released is a damn near perfect pop song with just a touch of Americana (“Jealous Moon”), she seems to be widening her net, bringing in more styles. She has also co-written songs for the first time, pairing up with prolific songwriter Daniel Tashian (Kasey Musgraves, Sara Evans).

In terms of the overall sound of Polaroid, I can only say that Jarosz has matured. While her earlier work was excellent, over time her sound has grown more confident, more grounded. The album was envisioned and recorded in the midst of change; she has married and moved from New York City to Nashville. Her co-musicians are superlative; while Jarosz plays guitar, clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and octave mandolin, she is backed up by players who have played with Nickel Creek, Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams, and Miranda Lambert.

But the songs—oh, the songs. “Runaway Train,” “Dying Ember,” the plaintive “Don’t Break Down On Me”... there is not a weak track on Polaroid Lovers. It is solid and enjoyable from top to bottom.

Jarosz, in her song “Good At What I Do,” wonders if she’s actually a good musician and performer. While I am one small voice reviewing Polaroid Lovers, I have to say that the sheer elegance and passion here proves that Sarah Jarosz is beyond good and well into magnificent.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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