I'M WITH HER - SARA WATKINS, SARAH JAROSZ, AOIFE O'DONOVAN

See You Around Tour

I'M WITH HER - SARA WATKINS, SARAH JAROSZ, AOIFE O'DONOVAN

Thu Apr 12

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Boulder Theater

$27.50 - $32.50

This event is all ages

Ages 15+ without a parent

All tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable following purchase

Listed price does not include tax and service charge

Price is the same online, over the phone, or in the Box Office.

NO BAGS

I'm With Her
I'm With Her
A band of extraordinary chemistry and exquisite musicianship, I’m With Her features Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan. Collectively, the multi-Grammy-Award-winners have released seven solo efforts, co-founded two seminal bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still), and contributed to critically acclaimed albums from a host of esteemed artists. But from its very first moments, their full-length debut See You Around reveals the commitment to creating a wholly unified band sound. With each track born from close songwriting collaboration, I’m With Her builds an ineffable magic from their finespun narratives and breathtaking harmonies. The result is an album both emotionally raw and intricate, revealing layers of meaning and insight within even the most starkly adorned track.

Co-produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, Paul McCartney) and the band and recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in a tiny English village near Bath, See You Around delivers a warmly textured yet stripped-down sound that proves both fresh and timeless. To achieve the album’s intimate feel, I’m With Her recorded live in the tight confines of the Wood Room, all three members performing in the same room without monitors or headphones. With its piercingly lyricism, See You Around also finds I’m With Her showing the uncompromising honesty of their songwriting. That intensity is heightened by the band’s effortless harmonizing, which the New York Times has praised as “sweetly ethereal, or as tightly in tandem as country sibling teams like the Everly Brothers, or as hearty as mountain gospel.”

Layered with lush guitar tones and crystalline harmonies, See You Around’s title track opens the album with a breakup ballad of rare nuance (“It’s about coming to the end of a long relationship where you both run in the same circles, and that melancholy feeling of knowing you’re going to have to keep seeing that person again and again,” Jarosz explains). A bittersweet mood endures for songs like “Ain’t That Fine,” a wistful meditation on existential ups and downs that ultimately discovers solace in its reflection and reckoning (sample lyric: “I can’t believe the things I put my mother through/But it’s alright, I guess we all deserve our turn to be a fool”).

From track to track, I’m With Her infuses their sonic palette with so many unexpected and subtly captivating elements: the jagged guitar lines and chanteuse-like delivery of “I-89,” the percussive vocal phrasing of “Game to Lose,” the ghostly harmonies and eerie atmospherics of “Wild One.” At the same time, the band’s finely wrought lyrics gently shift from the darkly charged storytelling of “Pangaea” to the sleepy sensuality of “Ryland (Under the Apple Tree)” to the romantic travel tale of “Overland.” And on the Gillian Welch-penned “Hundred Miles”—a gorgeously understated track, and the album’s only song written outside the band—See You Around closes out with a world-weary but potent message of hope.

All through See You Around, I’m With Her exhibit a refined musicality that reflects their deep musical roots. After years of crossing paths in their intersecting scenes, the three musicians came together by happenstance for an off-the-cuff performance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in summer 2014. The very same day, a mutual friend texted them with a last-minute request to open a show that night at the Sheridan Opera House. “We had two hours to prepare for a 30-minute set and we said, ‘Let’s do it, let’s skip margaritas and rehearse,’” O’Donovan recalls. “We worked up six or seven songs in the bathroom, and then went on to this crazy-energetic crowd at one in the morning. I’ll never forget how amazing that felt.”

Later that year, Watkins, O’Donovan, and Jarosz met up in New York to prep for a series of European shows in early 2015, carefully crafting their own arrangements of songs by artists ranging from Jim Croce to Nina Simone. “When you’re arranging a song, you’re communicating in ways that sometimes can be really inefficient,” says Watkins. “But with us it felt like we were all in a similar rhythm.” As their chemistry continued to deepen, the trio soon founded I’m With Her and transformed the project into a fully realized band. “Once you decide it’s a band, you can put it higher on your priority list and give it more attention,” says O’Donovan. “The bar gets raised when something has an air of permanence about it, and that’s definitely been the case for us.”

Although I’m With Her spent most of 2015 performing at festivals around the world, the band also holed up for their first-ever writing session that summer in L.A. “By that point it had started to solidify that we travel well together, play well together, eat well together—it felt like we’d tested our compatibility in all these different zones,” says Watkins. And after just four days of writing, it was clear that their compatibility extended to the art of songcraft. “I loved the songs, we all loved the songs,” says Jarosz of that first batch of tracks penned in L.A. “I think that really sparked the flame for us to make a full record together.”

When it came time to get working on the record, I’m With Her convened at a borrowed farmhouse in Vermont and spent over a week carving out new material, leaving only to replenish their supply of Heady Topper beer. “We were completely on lockdown and didn’t interact with another human being for eight days,” says O’Donovan. “If you can get through that and, at the end, still be so excited about what you’re doing, then that says a lot about the whole creative flow as a band.” Jarosz adds: “A lot of times you approach songwriting as a solitary act, or maybe choose to write with one other person you feel comfortable with. It’s a whole other beast to have three people writing together, juggling all these different ideas and personalities. But somehow for us, all of the songwriting was just so seamless.”

In Vermont, the band settled into their creative stride, but when the additional voice of producer Ethan Johns was added to the process in the studio, they found themselves starting another round of learning and growth. “Going into the recording, there were a lot of unknowns and a lot of questions,” says Jarosz. “It was a challenge for us to figure out how to make our vision and Ethan’s vision come together in a way that worked for everyone, and there was definitely some friction at times, but about halfway through we started to work it out.” With each member playing guitar and handling various aspects of the instrumentation— including fiddle and ukulele for Watkins, mandolin and banjo for Jarosz, piano and synth for O’Donovan—the band cut most of the album live and under exceptionally close-knit conditions. “Ethan had the studio so that we played all in the same room and facing each other,” Jarosz says. “There was really no separation between us at all.”

In looking back on the making of See You Around, I’m With Her note that a sense of unity has sustained in every step—including the moments when one member’s song idea failed to fly with the others. “If an idea doesn’t get accepted, it’s not like, ‘I’m a failure, this will never be heard,’” says Watkins. “You just move on to the next thing and put that idea aside for something else. We don’t have to be as precious with things, which really helps that forward-motion of creativity.” It’s exactly that dynamic spirit that, despite the album’s many moments of graceful restraint, imbues so much of See You Around with a powerful urgency—or, as O’Donovan, puts it: “In this band, there’s no time to get bogged down in what doesn’t happen. It’s all about what is happening.”
Sara Watkins
Sara Watkins
“This is a breakup album with myself...” says Sara Watkins of her third solo record, Young in All the Wrong Ways. Writing and recording these ten intensely soul-baring songs was a means for her to process and mark the last couple years, which have been transformative. “I looked around and realized that in many ways I wasn’t who or where I wanted to be. It’s been a process of letting go and leaving behind patterns and relationships and in some cases how I’ve considered myself. What these songs are documenting is the turmoil you feel when you know something has to change and you’re grappling with what that means. It means you’re losing something and moving forward into the unknown.”

That sense of possibility infuses the songs on Young in All the Wrong Ways with a fierce and flinty resolve, which makes this her most powerful and revealing album to date. In some ways it’s a vivid distillation of the omnivorous folk-pop-bluegrass-indie-everything-else Watkins made with Nickel Creek, yet she makes audacious jumps that push against expectations in unexpected ways. These songs contain some of the heaviest moments of her career, with eruptions of thrumming B3 organ and jagged electric guitar. But it’s also quiet, vulnerable, tenderhearted. In other words, bold in all the right ways.

Recently Watkins found herself without a manager at the same time she was leaving the label that released her first two solo albums. For many artists that might be the worst possible time to enter the studio, but working without a net invigorated Watkins. It was important for her to document this time in her life when she was between professional contracts: free from the weight of obligation to anyone but herself. In that regard the tumultuous title track sounds like the first song of the rest of her life. Her backing band create a violent clamor, with Jon Brion’s sharp stabs of electric guitar punctuating the din and Jay Bellerose’s explosive drumming ripping at the seams of the song. In the chaos, however, Watkins finds clarity: “I’ve got no time to look back, so I’m going to leave you here,” she sings, with new grit and fire in her voice. “I’m going out to see about my own frontier.”

Fittingly, Watkins wrote or co-wrote every song on Young in All the Wrong ways—a first for her. Her previous albums have featured well-chosen covers that compliment her own songs and showcase her interpretive abilities. “I love singing other people’s songs, and originally I did plan to have a couple of covers on the album. But as we were recording and getting a picture of how everything fit together, it became apparent that the covers really stood apart from the story that was taking shape. I felt like I just had a little bit more to say. Everything is coming from me, so there’s a unified perspective on this album that’s different from what I’ve done before.”

Some are lonely and quiet: “Like New Year’s Day” describes in careful detail a trip out to the desert, and the low-key arrangement echoes the reassuring isolation of the southwestern landscape. Other songs are more extroverted, their volume and energy a means to reach out to friends and colleagues. “Move Me” opens as a loping pop song, but soon explodes into a walloping rocker as Watkins demands, in a voice that strains against composure, “I want you to move me!” It’s a time-stopping performance: Janis Joplin by way of Fleetwood Mac.

“That song is about relationships that have gone stagnant, how sometimes we just go about the process of making small talk in order not to stir anything up,” she says. “But it’s sad when you can’t have a meaningful conversation with people after a while. Even if they hurt you, you just want to feel something from them. You don’t relate to each other the same way as you once did, so you have to decide if you’re going to invite this person further into your life or just move on.”

Watkins knew just the right people to bring these tough-minded songs to life. She corralled longtime friend and fellow fiddler Gabe Witcher to produce, then put together a band that includes two of Witcher’s fellow Punch Brothers: guitarist Chris Eldridge and bass player Paul Kowert. Providing harmonies on the title track are Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan, Watkins’ bandmates in I’m With Her, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket provides a vocal foil on “One Last Time.” “I’ve known these guys for a long time, so there’s a personal trust as well as a musical trust. I was able to put my heart and soul into these performances, in a way that I don’t think I would be able to if I was in a room full of strangers. It allowed me to give myself over to some of these very personal thoughts that are in the lyrics.”

To say these are personal lyrics might be an understatement. They’re beyond personal, whether she’s confessing some long-held regret or gently consoling a friend. Young in All the Wrong Ways ends with “Tenderhearted,” a quietly assured song that Watkins wrote about a few of her heroes: women like her Grandmother Nordstrom who have weathered hard times with grace and have provided Watkins with examples of how to live her life. “They’re women who have endured so much yet emerged with love, strength and kindness. I remember someone saying, It’s so sad how much she’s had to go through. And I remember thinking, That’s why she’s such an incredible person. She faced all those trials and came out the other side.”

Watkins would never be so bold as to count herself in their company; instead, she aspires to follow their example. But Young in All the Wrong Ways does reveal an artist who has managed to transform her own turmoil into music that is beautiful and deeply moving: “God bless the tenderhearted,” she sings, “who let life overflow.”
Sarah Jarosz
Sarah Jarosz
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.
Aoife O'Donovan
Aoife O'Donovan
Aoife O’Donovan’s sophomore album, “In the Magic Hour” — produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Neko Case) is a 10-song album full of the singer’s honeyed vocals mixed with gauzy, frictionless sounds: splashing cymbals, airy harmonies, the leisurely baritone musings of an electric guitar. Written in the wake of O’Donovan’s grandfather’s death, “In the Magic Hour” is her most introspective effort yet, an aching exploration of memory and mortality.

For a decade, O’Donovan wielded her instrument with tensile strength as the captivating lead singer of the Boston-based progressive string band Crooked Still. She was a featured vocalist on “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” the Grammy-winning album by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile, has made regular appearances on A Prairie Home Companion and collaborated with some of the most eminent names in music across a wide variety of genres from Alison Krauss to Dave Douglas

In 2013 O’Donovan released her debut solo album, “Fossils,” a moody collection of original songs with a country lilt. The album garnered praise from The New York Times and Rolling Stone, while The Guardian deemed O’Donovan the “next Americana celebrity.” Most recently O’Donovan has lent her voice to the folk trio I’m With Her with singers Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek) and Sarah Jarosz.
Venue Information:
Boulder Theater
2032 14th Street
Boulder, CO, 80302
http://www.bouldertheater.com/