Follow Me Down by Sarah Jarosz
Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Sarah’s 2009 debut, Song Up in My Head, charmed as much as it impressed, featuring straightforward songs and performances from the then-16-year-old newgrass whiz kid.
Follow Me Down trades some of that album’s simplicity and girlish appeal for a heightened level of musical sophistication and a more mystical, exotic air. A host of A-list musicians join Sarah, providing interlocking, stirring and ingeniously designed parts that further elevate her artful original songs and covers.
This potent collaboration is at its peak on the disc’s three-song opening salvo: the darkly alluring “Run Away”; “Come Around,” which feints with off-kilter rhythms that embody the song’s theme of spiritual imbalance; and “Annabelle Lee,” on which Sarah aptly reimagines Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre romantic poem as a traditional Appalachian ballad.
Mostly introspective, lower-key fare fills out the album’s remainder, resulting in an occasional lag in momentum. This, however, is offset by inventiveness and instrumental wizardry, offering those who accept Follow Me Down’s tempting invitation entry into a wonderland of musical riches.