St Mary’s Church, Guildford
***** (Five stars)
Guildford is fast becoming a regular haven for Americana artists touring the UK. A one-man mission by promoter Howard Smith is bringing some of the genre’s finest artists to the town, including Aoife O’Donovan and Anais Mitchell, the latter will be playing in Guildford on 23rd May. All we need now is for him to bring the Punch brothers to Guildford, wouldn’t that be something?
The latest, Grammy-nominated Sarah Jarosz, played to a sell-out crowd in Guildford.
A superb support set by the talented singer-songwriter Dietrich Strause from Massachusetts set the atmosphere for the evening.
Jarosz, accompanied by Jeff Picker on double bass and Anthony da Costa on guitar and backing vocals, began with House of Mercy from Undercurrent. Her set featured six tracks drawn from this highly commended album.
This was a masterclass of Americana. Intelligent songs beautifully delivered, flowing guitar playing and sumptuous harmonies. At times the three musicians were as one, with da Costa alternating between acoustic and electric guitar, and Jarosz equally adept at guitar, mandolin or banjo.
Highlights of the evening included Comin’ Undone, Take Me Back and Green Light. The set included Ring Them Bells, a Bob Dylan cover from his Oh Mercy album and High Sierra as a tribute to Linda Ronstadt. Jarosz passed the spotlight to guitarist da Costa for his composition Neighbors.
For an encore, Jarosz returned to give a solo rendition of the achingly beautiful Jacqueline and was joined by her companions for a cover of I Wish it would Rain by Nanci Griffith who, like Jarosz, is from Austin, Texas.
Long may Guildford stay on the tour list for talented artists such as Sarah Jarosz and Dietrich Strause. A part of Guildford is forever Americana.