With her fourth album, Undercurrent, Sarah Jarosz makes a studied departure from her previous records, shifting the emphasis from her skills as a multi-instrumentalist to her songwriting and vocal performance. Undercurrent accentuates the growth and maturity that Jarosz, now 25, has achieved since graduating from New England Conservatory and moving to New York City. The change in approach garnered Jarosz two Grammy Awards in 2017-for Best Folk Album Year for Undercurrent and for Best American Roots Performance for "House Of Mercy". She also picked up the award for 2017 Folk Album of the Year from Folk Alliance International for Undercurrent.
On Undercurrent, Jarosz delivers a set of all-original songs, centered around four solo pieces that set the tone of the record. Uncut Magazine describes it as "an enthralling journey from source to mouth," and goes on to say "These are songs about the choices we make, the paths we take and the things we leave behind, a deep meditation on the invisible currents that guide us." The Wall Street Journal notes "This economical approach brings the listener closer to Ms. Jarosz than on any of her previous recordings, and it suits the lyrical theme of passion that, mostly, is forbidden and unrequited."
The Austin Chronicle's Jim Caligiuri declared "For Austinites who've followed her since her early teens, the fact that Wimberley native Sarah Jarosz blossomed into one of the most stirring musicians of her generation comes as absolutely no surprise," while Consequence of Sound''s Michelle Geslani noted the "startling sense of insight" in Jarosz's compositions. NPR's Katie Presley made note of Jarosz's newfound maturity, praising her "uncharacteristically (and deliciously) unyielding" vocal carriage.