Sarah Jarosz plus support The Queen's Hall Edinburgh Review Thursday 17th November 2016


Sarah Jarosz at The Queen’s Hall was a show that I had been looking forward to, as what I had seen and heard online so far from this singer/songwriter from Austin, Texas had intrigued me with her unique blend of contemporary folk and Americana music, and also of course her musical skills as a multi instrumentalist.

Joining Sarah on stage, Jedd Hughes (electric and acoustic guitars & harmony vocals) and Jeff Picker (bass) created an interesting, and sometimes pleasantly unusual collaboration when blending in with Sarah’s own playing, and gave many of the songs in this 90 minute set a very distinctive edge.  Songs in this set were a mixture of some older material and newer material from the new album “Undercurrent”.

Names opened and closed this show with “Annabelle” and by audience request at final encore “Jacqueline”...also fittingly the final track from the new album.  In between some very varied but always accomplished musical styles and lyrics. “House of Mercy”, “Lost Dog”, “Take Another Turn” and “Build Me Up From Bones” are a few examples of the talent and sharp writer’s observational eye that make up part of the complex music of Sarah Jarosz.

Also here in this set, a very good cover of Bob Dylan’s “Ring Them Bells” from Sarah and Merle Haggard’s “Working Man’s Blues” from Jedd.

Listening to Sarah performing songs and music that are rooted in traditional Americana and folk, it is to me always interesting just how close many of the sounds are to traditional Scottish and Celtic music, so it was nice to hear that Sarah, Jedd and Jeff will be returning to our shores in January 2017 for Celtic Connections.

This was Sarah’s first visit to Edinburgh and hopefully the first of many visits in the future.

For more information on Sarah Jarosz and her music visit

Opening the show for Sarah here in Edinburgh was singer/songwriter Dietrich Strause.  Sometimes, when you hear a singer/songwriter for the first time, you are just amazed at their ability to use words and tell a story, and this was one of those times. 

This was only a short 30 minute opening set from Dietrich, but songs like “Jean Louise” and “All The Creatures”  gave us just a small glimpse of what a huge writing talent this young musician is.  There is a playful fluidity to the way Dietrich used the English language and often very unusual and unexpected combinations of words that somehow fit together perfectly to paint his “song pictures”.

At times, the lyrics reminded me of the early songs of Paul Simon, and at other times you could hear traces of some of those early Lennon & McCartney songs.  Somehow though, not copying or derivative, but fresh and new and in a very distinctive style. 
Dietrich had actually sold out of his CDs by the time he reached Edinburgh.  No Surprise.

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Sometimes at shows, it can be easy to forget the role of a promoter in bringing performers to our stages, so a big thank you here to David from DHM Concerts for bringing Sarah Jarosz  and many other  diverse and gifted performers to The Queen’s Hall.

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Review by Tom King


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