Tucson’s historic Fox Theatre set the scene for Grammy-winning songwriter
Sarah Jarosz to team up with the Brother Brothers for their first of several shows on the same bill. Her first time in the Old Pueblo, she lavished the city with praise after introducing her and her band (upright bassist Jeffrey Picker and guitarist Anthony da Costa) to an almost-packed house. Before delving headfirst into the next tune, she added, “We’ll definitely be back!” Already fully engaged in her easygoing stage persona and consummate performances, the crowd went roaring in response.
Recent fans of
Jarosz who came along after her latest album, Undercurrent, brought her two Grammys last year would be in luck. The vast majority of the songs performed that night at the Fox were from off of the record, including the aforementioned Best Americana Roots Performance tune that opened the night.
Primarily armed with her trusty trademark octave mandolin, she took the audience on a journey through the ebb and flow of
Undercurrent with remarkable heart and dexterity. Upbeat jams like her Parker Millsap co-write, “Comin’ Undone”, received raucous applause, as did the more introspective, intricate sounds of “Take Me Back” and “Lost Dog”. It began to seem like time stood still for the minutes that Jarosz spent introducing album-closer “Jacqueline” and the story behind its inspiration in the Jackie Onassis River. The audience let a few long-spanning seconds of silence stand between the performance and their applause once it was over as if in a sign of well-deserved respect and admiration for the tune.
It wasn’t all one big Undercurrent celebration though, as the folk and bluegrass star tossed a bone to older fans with performances of earlier songs like “Tell Me True” and “Build Me Up from the Bones”. She also tossed in some stellar covers betwixt all of her incredible original numbers, including a timely tribute to the recently departed Tom Petty in “Time to Get Going”. Speaking of which, Jarosz really got the crowd going with her scorching mandolin-centric cover of the Prince classic, “When Doves Cry”. Mixing in some movements from her “Blue Heron Suite”, she and the band knew how to top off the night with the same personable eloquence that they began with.
As mentioned earlier, Brooklyn’s Brother Brothers opened up the night and stood toe-to-toe with Jarosz, Picker, and da Costa as superb musicians of exemplary craft. Their witty, sarcastic banter woke the audience up after the considerable wait that usually plagues larger venues once the doors open. They rode that gracious electricity into an eclectic set of vibrant folk songs with incredible harmonies.
By comparison to the acclaim that Jarosz has found in recent years, Adam and David Moss are still small-time, but the city of Tucson won’t soon be forgetting their incredible sound. If they receive even a modicum of the acclaim that they did in the hundreds-strong Fox Theatre that night throughout all of their tour dates with their headlining act, they won’t have anything to worry about. Keep an eye out for the Brother Brothers, because they’re most certainly what’s coming up next.
All in all, it can safely be said that Sarah Jarosz’s first time in Tucson was a resounding success. To nearly fill-up an acclaimed theatre of 1,164 seats in her debut is no small feat, but one both deserved and unsurprising for an artist who is just so darn good. Next time around, she’ll certainly be selling out.