Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Aging has worked wonders for Sarah Jarosz because she sounds better and better with each release. On her third disc, the Texas native, who occupies a musical turf straddling bluegrass, country and acoustic music, Jarosz proves to be more confident than ever in her vocal delivery. There's some bite in Fuel the Fire
with a lot of banjo, courtesy of Jarosz herself, plucking going on all around here.
Jarosz shines on the pared down, low key take on Dylan's Simple Twist of Fate with a lot of upright bass behind Jarosz's vocals. Give Jarosz credit for trying to tackle the song, but even more so because she affixed her own stamp to it. This is not the first time Jarosz has covered Dylan because she did so on her 2011 disc "Follow Me Down." She also closes the 11-song release very strongly with Rearrange the Art with ethereal styled vocals and lots of cello from Nathaniel Smith adding body to the song.
There's a bit of a brooding quality on Dark Road where she holds her notes, approximating Aiofe O'Donovan vocally amidst the percolating music around her, including Dobro and a healthy dose of percussion as well.
Jarosz could use a tad more diversity as after awhile, she stays in the same middle ground on a few songs.
Releasing her first disc when she was only 18 ("Song Up In Her Head" in 2009), Jarosz now has graduated college (New England Conservatory of Music in Boston) and shows that time has helped. Getting old(er) isn't so bad in Jarosz's case.