After crisscrossing the nation for the last half-decade looking for a home, Pokey LaFarge found himself in Mid-Coast Maine. Upon arriving, the Illinois-born singer/songwriter/actor pursued a major life change, working 12-hour days on a local farm—a turn of events that catalyzed an extraordinary burst of creativity and redefined his sense of purpose as an artist. On his new album Rhumba Country, LaFarge reveals his newly heightened devotion to making music that channels pure joy. “There was a time when I glorified sadness because I lost sight of who I was, but now I understand that creating and expressing joy is my gift, and gifts are meant to be shared,” he says. Reclaiming his voice, LaFarge has recorded his boldest album yet. Rhumba Country was initially shaped from material that emerged while LaFarge was deep in work on the farm. “I’d be pushing a plow or scattering seeds, and the songs would just come to me,” he recalls. “It was tremendously inspirational and made me realize that apart from singing, farming is perhaps the oldest human art form.” But as he moved forward with his songwriting, something felt undeniably amiss. LaFarge then spoke with fellow Midwestern transplant Elliot Bergman (Wild Belle), who suggested he return to city life in Los Angeles for a season so that the two musicians could work together—a collaboration that soon brought the rhumba to LaFarge’s country. As he immersed himself in the album’s creation, LaFarge began dreaming up a kaleidoscopic sound informed by his love of music from far-ranging eras and corners of the globe, including mambo, tropicália, rocksteady, and mid-century American rock-and-roll. Co-produced along with Chris Seefried and Bergman and recorded in L.A., the resulting Rhumba Country is an invitation to come together to celebrate life and love. “The songs that naturally come to me are upbeat and make you wanna dance or at least bop your head—they’re all very colorful,” says LaFarge. “I used to think of my music in dark blue, but now I see it in technicolor.”
Another Longworth-Anderson Series evening of great music, food, and drink! Complimentary pre-concert reception features live local music, light bites from Ollie’s Trolley and N.Y.P.D. Pizza, and craft beer tastings from HighGrain Brewing Co.
Four-time GRAMMY winner Sarah Jarosz has announced her new album, Polaroid Lovers. The record is set for release on January 26th, 2024 via Rounder Records. To mark the occasion she has shared the album opener, “Jealous Moon,” and its companion video. WATCH HERE. The song finds Jarosz backed by a decidedly more electric band, with her Texas lilt as clear and evocative as ever. Polaroid Lovers is available for pre-order today digitally and on vinyl with gray, lavender, orange and green splatter variants. Indie retailers will also have a special blue and green splatter vinyl. For more information visit https://store.sarahjarosz.com/
More About Sarah Jarosz and Polaroid Lovers:
The seventh full-length from four-time Grammy Award-winner Sarah Jarosz, Polaroid Lovers is an album-long meditation on those strangely ephemeral moments that indelibly shape our lives. “What I love about a Polaroid is that it’s capturing something so fleeting, but at the same time it makes that moment last forever,” says the Texas-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. “It made sense as a title for a record where all the songs are snapshots of different love stories, and there’s a feeling of time being expansive despite that impermanence.” Thanks to the rarefied alchemy that infuses all of Jarosz’s output — her finely wrought lyricism, ravishing vocal work, virtuosic yet unfettered musicality — Polaroid Lovers performs the much-needed magic of leading us toward a heightened sense of presence, all while casting a lovely spell with her timelessly powerful songs.
The follow-up to 2020’s studio album World on the Ground (winner of the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album) and 2021’s song cycle Blue Heron Suite, Polaroid Lovers embodies a bold new vitality that has much to do with a deliberate shift in Jarosz’s writing process and sonic approach. “Historically I’ve been somewhat closed off to co-writing, but in the past couple of years I’ve felt curious to get out of my comfort zone,” says the newly Nashville-based artist, who released her debut album at just 18-years-old. “For a long time it was important to me to write for myself, so that I wouldn’t get lost in those rooms full of amazing writers. But now that I’m more confident in my musical identity, I know I can collaborate but still stay true to my own voice.” In one of her first co-writing sessions for Polaroid Lovers, Jarosz joined forces with Daniel Tashian (a songwriter/musician/producer known for his multi-award-winning work on Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour) and immediately felt an undeniable creative connection. “Daniel and I were both so excited by the idea of creating a new sound together, and he pushed me in ways I felt completely ready for and open to,” she says. “It felt really good to allow myself that freedom, and to take that leap into something new.”
Produced by Tashian at the legendary Sound Emporium, Polaroid Lovers took shape as Jarosz recorded live with musicians like guitarist Rob McNelley (Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood), Tom Bukovac (Tom Petty, Vince Gill) on guitar and organ, her husband bassist Jeff Picker (Nickel Creek), and drummer Fred Eltringham (Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams), carving out a viscerally potent but resplendent brand of folk-rock. Along with layering in such delicately crafted details as otherworldly textures and luminous synth tones, Jarosz and Tashian forged the album’s singular sound by foregrounding her spirited performance on octave mandolin. “Out of everything I play, the octave mandolin is definitely my soulmate,” says Jarosz, who first took up mandolin at age nine, quickly gained major acclaim in the bluegrass world, and also plays guitar and banjo throughout Polaroid Lovers. “I started playing it when I was 16, and that’s when I started writing songs that truly felt like me — there’s something about the tonality that really lets my voice shine through.”
With her co-writers on Polaroid Lovers also including artists like Ruston Kelly, Natalie Hemby, and Sarah Buxton as well as heavy-hitters like Jon Randall (Miranda Lambert, Emmylou Harris) and Gordie Sampson (Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood), Jarosz opens the album on “Jealous Moon”: a gloriously soaring and exquisitely nuanced track that instantly sweeps the listener up in its bristling emotionality. “That song is about the parts of ourselves that we try to keep hidden, and the moments when they rise to the surface and we just have to ride the wave,” says Jarosz, who co-wrote “Jealous Moon” with Tashian on a trip to his family’s summer house in Monteagle, Tennessee. “Daniel and I call it our little Monteagle song that could — it started off with me playing ukulele and him playing nylon-string guitar on the porch, then blossomed into this very powerful song that knocked me off my feet.”
Next, on “When the Lights Go Out,” Jarosz shares the sweetly lilting reverie that gave the album its title (from the first verse: “In a dream we were Polaroid lovers/In the deep where the edges don’t lie”). “I wrote that song with Jon Randall and Gordie Sampson, who suggested we try something in a 6/8 time signature — which is such a simple idea, but took us in a direction I might never have gone otherwise,” she says. “To me the lyrics are a way of asking someone you’re intrigued by, ‘Who are you when all the shine and attention isn’t on you anymore? Who are you really?’” Another track co-written with Randall, “Runaway Train” kicks the album into high gear as Jarosz serves up a bright and soulful love song built on a wildly sing-along-ready chorus (“You’ve got a heart like a runaway train/Screaming down the mountainside/Burning like a fever that you can’t contain/Humming like the 405”). “Coming out of the pandemic and playing shows again, I realized that a lot of the more uptempo songs in my set were covers,” she says. “I wanted to write a love song that would give people that joyful feeling, and Jon and I had so much fun playing with all those images of California and Colorado and Texas Hill Country, which is where I grew up.”
One of the most poignant moments on Polaroid Lovers, “Columbus & 89th” drifts into a dreamlike beauty as Jarosz reflects on the ineffable heartache of leaving her longtime home of New York City back in 2020. “New York signified this childhood dream that I’d had for so long, so moving to Nashville was like turning the page from youth to adulthood,” she says. “‘Columbus & 89th’ ended up just pouring out of me once Daniel and I started working on it — there was so much nostalgia and melancholy that I needed to process, and now I still tear up whenever I hear it. As a songwriter my main goal is to tell the truth about my experience, and I think the fact that that song makes me so emotional means that I was tapping into real feeling.” Written on the same trip that yielded “Columbus & 89th” (a journey to Alabama’s Orange Beach with Tashian’s family), “Days Can Turn Around” unfolds as a gently swaying folk song threaded with warmly delivered instruction for living well no matter what the circumstances (e.g., “Never turn down cold champagne/Don’t change your plans for a little rain”). “Both of those songs have similar themes of thinking back and looking forward, but trying your best to be in the moment,” says Jarosz. “With ‘Days Can Turn Around,’ I wanted to talk about all those little gems of wisdom you hear from you parents that end up taking on a whole new meaning when you finally become an adult.”
As Jarosz reveals, her very first co-writing session with Tashian helped draw out the deep-rooted confidence that informed all of the album’s creation. “That first day Daniel and I worked together we wrote a song called ‘Take the High Road,’ which is about taking the time to really know yourself and get comfortable in your own skin, even if it might take a little longer to get to where you want to be,” she says. “There was something so beautiful about that being the first song we wrote for this album — it gave me the push I needed to not be afraid, to move beyond the boundaries and explore new sounds.” A widely beloved musician whose past efforts include teaming up with fellow singer/songwriters Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan to form the Grammy Award-winning trio I’m With Her — as well as appearing on albums by iconic artists like David Crosby and Amy Ray of Indigo Girls — Jarosz derived a particularly profound sense of purpose from the highly collaborative process behind Polaroid Lovers. “Maybe more than any record I’ve ever made, I felt so present and hyper-emotional with this album because I believed in it so much,” she says. “It was so joyful to work with all these writers and musicians, and I think that joy really comes through.”
Looking back on the making of Polaroid Lovers, Jarosz notes that shaking up her process ultimately left her eager to further expand her creative horizons. “It was a big step for me to reach out to Daniel, but in the end it showed me how important it is to keep taking thoughtful chances,” she says. “This whole album reminded me that I never want to play it safe — if anything, I want there to always be that element of being a little scared, because that means I’m taking a risk. In a way that’s what’s so wonderful about art: if you’re lucky, you never reach the finish line. You just keep searching and chiseling away at the stone, and putting everything you can into making something that tells the truth but hopefully leaves space for others to find meaning too.”
- VIP Package Includes:
- Pre-show soundcheck performance
- Q&A with Sarah
- Group photo with Sarah (Sarah stays on stage)
- Exclusive poster signed by the artist
- Early venue entry (this is TBD)
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Sierra Hull is widely regarded to be a as a master of her instrument; A two-time Grammy-Nominated artist and songwriter, recognized for both her most recent projects, 25 Trips (2020)and Weighted Mind (2016), she is also the 4x recipient of IBMA’s Mandolin Player of the Year,the first woman to ever receive this distinction. A pioneer for acoustic music throughout her already impressive multi-decade career, she has graced the country’s most iconic stages,including Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, and the White House. Her virtuosic abilities have garnered respect from genre-defining trailblazers, friends, and collaborators such as Alison Krauss, Sturgill Simpson, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, and Brandi Carlile. Originally hailing from Byrdstown, Tennessee, her unique sound is rooted in bluegrass,and she is widely considered one of acoustic music’s most inventive artists.
Equal parts classic songwriter and modern-day storyteller, Gabe Lee has built his own bridge between country, folk and rock.Lee has been collecting stories for years, both onstage and off. “I used to bartend,” says the Nashville-based songwriter, “which means I was also a cheap therapist for whomever happened to be sitting on the barstool. Whether they were there to celebrate or drink away their problems, I heard about whatever they were going through. It was my job to have that face-to-face interaction —that connection. Being a full-time musician isn’t much different.”With critically-acclaimed albums like 2019’sfarmland, 2020’sHonky-Tonk Hell, and 2022’sThe Hometown Kid, Lee created that connection by delivering his own stories to an ever-growing audience. His fourth record,Drink the River, takes a different approach. This time, Lee isn’t offering listeners a peek into his internal world; he’s holding up a mirror to reflect their own.Storytelling has been an anchor of Lee’s music since the very beginning. Raised by Taiwanese parents in Nashville, TN, he left home during his teenage years and headed to Indiana, where he obtained college degrees in literature and journalism. Lee launched his career as a genre-bending musician after returning to Tennessee, quickly progressing from dive bar gigs to high-profile opening slots (including shows with Jason Isbell, Los Lobos,Molly Tuttle,and other artists who, like him, blurred the lines between roots-rock, country, and other forms of American folkmusic) to his own headlining shows. Throughout it all, he drew upon the narrative skills he’d sharpened as a student. If albums likeHonky-Tonk HellandThe Hometown Kidoften unfolded like autobiographical entries from his road journal, thenDrink the Rivershows an even broader range of his storytelling abilities. Lee isn’t just writing songs about himself; he’s writing songs about all of us. And maybe, in doing so, he can bring us a little closer together.