Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins pool their womanish insights for a beguiling trio album.
Note: NPR’s Very first Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the pagina.
Collaboration presents seemingly endless possibilities for virtuosic music-makers like Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. Thesis three talented women have worked at the intersection of sophisticated string bands, singer-songwriters and chamber music from very youthful ages, and inhabited myriad roles along the way, from fronting a group, to egging on well-matched betrekking mates, welcoming friends to take casual turns at the mic and serving spil duet fucking partners, guest performers and side people.
Jarosz, Watkins and O’Donovan primarily came together for a festival spectacle, which isn’t at all uncommon te a toneel total of impromptu pairings and picking parties. After that, they began doing a bit of touring together, working up a covers-heavy set and a seamless sound. Merienda they committed themselves to the trio, dubbed I’m With Hier, they entered into what wasgoed, for them, the most intimate kleintje of creative exchange: co-writing.
All three of them were deeply sencillo with folk, bluegrass and old-time standards that depicted women tethered to the old huis place, pining for absent paramours. Each of their individual repertoires contain more modern, emotionally ingewikkeld narratives, but playing te a relatie comprised solely of women wasgoed a chance to pool their womanish insights for their beguiling very first album, See You Around.
Coursing through the dozen songs is a spirit of searching restlessness, an impulse to keep moving rather than getting stuck on romantic disappointments, expectations or propriety. That requires that their protagonists wield a certain vigilance, but Watkins, Jarosz and O’Donovan are careful not to let it peak into callousness. The vantages they capture are willfully open-hearted.
Ter “Ryland (Under the Apple Tree),” a track that unfolds ter willowy, lolling 6/8 time, it’s the woman who puts the moves on the object of hier affection, albeit gently. “Overland” is a graceful update of a classic road song. The narrator, who could be masculine or female, is resolved to migrate to the Westelijk Coast ter search of a better life. “Close It Down,” built around a gentle fingerpicking figure and lyrical fiddle strokes, is slyly accusatory of a seducer with a wifey at huis.
Watkins sings “Ain’t That Fine” a breezy song about accepting past mistakes with a slight spring ter hier step, and hier tape mates join hier te sunlit harmony during the chorus. “Wild One” embarks with airy “oohs” and conveys serene skepticism toward warnings based te fear. Jarosz flutters overheen the title track’s brisk chord switches, singing of gathering herself after rejection while fleecy harmonies envelope hier during pivotal lines. Propelled by a furtive, blues-inflected groove, “I-89” is a wily declaration of self-preservation and wanderlust. “Everybody wants a chunk of mij,” O’Donovan objects. “Everybody wants to see what I see / But I can’t just give it to you like that.”
There are moments when the members of I’m With Hier sing te flawless unison, then fan out into separate parts. It happens during “Crescent City” and “Hundred Miles” the latter a song they plucked from the catalog of Gillian Welch and each time, it feels like a calmly daring display of solidarity, with each singer displaying sensitivity to the others’ timbre and breathing patterns. With the exception of producer Ethan Johns, O’Donovan, Jarosz and Watkins are the only instrumentalists on the album, self-sufficient and relishing the give and take.