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“What does it mean to be lost?” asks Sarah Jarosz as the first line on “Take Another Turn,” a track from her new record Undercurrent. It’s a question that embodies perfectly the thematic interests of the songs on the record—questions about strength and weakness, about the bliss and burden of being alive, about interpersonal dynamics which lack the contours of clarity—but listening to Undercurrent, there’s an unassailable merit which proves that, if ever Sarah Jarosz was lost in terms of musical capability or direction, she’s certainly found now.
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Following on the heels of three terrific records in their own right—2009’s Song Up in Her Head, 2011’s Follow Me Down, and 2013’s Build Me Up From Bones—this multiple Grammy Award nominee, at just twenty-five, has established, with Undercurrent, a near-perfect discography of which most artists can only dream. To pick out a standout track from Undercurrent would be false, a fool’s errand—they all stand out, demanding to be listened to, again and again. It’s a masterpiece of songwriting, arrangement, and production, with extraordinary lyrics simultaneously vulnerable and confident and a sound that is altogether unique to Jarosz. If she’s churning out records of this quality at twenty-five, one can only anticipate with conviction that hers will be a long, notable, and rewarding career—for the artist herself and for her audience, the size of which Undercurrent is sure to increase.