Texan bluegrass prodigy Sarah Jarosz made her Scottish debut only last year. But thanks to a fine performance at the Transatlantic Sessions and well-received full-length shows, she can command a sizeable crowd for this, the solitary Scottish date on her tour.
Barely 21, the banjo and mandolin virtuosa already had a Grammy nomination, but in the past week, her tune Come Around got a Best Song nod for this year’s Americana Music Association Awards. The rootsy but vampish number proves one of the standouts of a bewitching first 45 minutes, alongside the achingly plaintive Tell Me True.
Backed by Nathaniel Smith on the cello and Alex Hargreaves on the fiddle, there’s tremendous joy in seeing these young, accomplished musicians cut loose on an instrumental like Old Smitty.
But Jarosz is a gifted interpreter too. A warmer, folkier rendition of The Book of Right-On is followed by the murder ballad Shankill Butchers, her vocal finding just the right tone of airy, creepy disinterest.
The highlights, notwithstanding a jaunty Deep River Blues tribute to Doc Watson, is the Dylan one-two of Ring Them Bells and a stunning Simple Twist of Fate, Jarosz downing her instruments to become a sultry torch singer.
Occasionally, as with the mildly saccharine Gypsy, her songwriting can seem gauche. But she’ll swiftly dispel such impressions, with the Edgar Allen Poe-referencing Annabelle Lee or the beautifully fragile, Radiohead-redolent My Muse.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West