Tag Archives: nashville

Nashville Symphony Reaches Agreement on Weekly Stipend

After three months of negotiations, musicians of the Nashville Symphony, who have been furloughed since July, accepted an interim stipend agreement beginning January 3, 2021 and lasting through July 31, 2021.

Musicians will receive a $500 weekly stipend and will commit to performing community concerts and participating in other projects. Health care coverage will be provided for the duration of the agreement.

“The July 1 announcement of the extended furlough of all Nashville Symphony musicians created an untenable situation for many of these world class players,” says Dave Pomeroy, president of Local 257 (Nashville, TN). “Like so many unemployed Americans, they were faced with heartbreaking decisions in order to survive—some of which involved not being able to stay in Nashville at all. It is fortunate that we were finally able to reach an agreement with the Nashville Symphony to give some assistance to these world-class musicians, and help them get through this unprecedented time.”

“Orchestras and ensembles around the country have been finding creative ways to sustain their artistic mission, and we’re happy to see the Nashville Symphony reemerging to do the same,” says Melinda Whitley of Local 257, who serves as orchestra committee chair and as a member of the negotiating committee. “The musicians are glad that the end of the furlough is in sight, and we look forward to working together again with the Nashville Symphony to provide music for our beloved audiences and communities in middle Tennessee.” Negotiations for a longer-term contract will continue, with the goal of reaching an agreement by the 2021-22 season.

Oates Live in Nashville

Live in Nashville

Oates Live in Nashville

John Oates

John Oates, of the best-selling duo in rock history Hall & Oates, has released his second album performing with The Good Road Band: Live in Nashville. Oats, of Local 257 (Nashville, TN), along with fellow 257 musicians Sam Bush (mandolin), Russ Pahl (pedal steel), Nate Smith (cello), and Josh “Daddy” Day (drums/percussion) recorded the album last January 9 at Station Inn, the legendary listening room in Nashville where the band first took shape. 

Inspired by Mississippi John Hurt, Live in Nashville features songs performed by him like the gospel-blues opener, “Lord Send Me,” the Delta blues of the standard “Stack o Lee,” and an electrified take on “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor,” dubbed “Pallet Soft and Low.” Oates pays tribute to his own childhood with a cover of Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me,” the first song he learned to sing and play on guitar as a six-year-old after hearing it on the radio. Oates describes the sound of the album as, “Dixieland, dipped in bluegrass, and salted with Delta blues.” 

Kelsea Ballerini to Receive Nashville Symphony Harmony Award  

Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini, a member of Local 257 (Nashville, TN), will receive the 2019 Nashville Symphony Harmony Award. A dedicated committee selects the annual winners. The Harmony Award recognizes individuals who exemplify the harmonious spirit of Nashville’s musical community. She will perform during their 35th annual Symphony Ball. The event will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2019, at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

“Few artists can boast of such a meteoric rise to start their career like Kelsea Ballerini, who has already had an incredible impact on country music, thanks to her unique talent and a string of history-making hits,” said Laura Kimbrell, co-chair of the 2019 Symphony Ball fundraiser. “A strong, confident woman who serves as a wonderful role model—not to mention a native Tennessean who Music City is proud to call one of its own—Kelsea is a worthy addition to the prestigious list of past Harmony Award winners, and we can’t wait for her performance at the Symphony Ball in December.”

Since her gold-certified, full-length debut The First Time in 2015, Ballerini keeps making history while elevating country music for a new era. The vocalist, songwriter and performer is the only female country artist ever to achieve three consecutive No. 1 songs from a debut album. Likely as a result, her total streams to date exceed 2 billion. Ballerini also earned two Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards and iHeartRadio’s Best New Artist Award. In addition she received two Grammy nominations. Perhaps most tellingly, the Grand Ole Opry welcomed Ballerini as its youngest current member.

Rich Redmond: Rocking Stage and Studio, Inspiring Hearts and Minds

Rocking Stage and Studio, Inspiring Hearts and Minds

Rich Redmond leaves a piece of his soul behind wherever he goes—whether he is drumming, producing, writing, acting, teaching, or speaking. As he says, “I’m a people person with a lot of heart. I bleed passion.” Drawing on his formal training, experience, and drumming virtuosity, Redmond has parlayed his considerable success—and energy—into a powerful tool to help others jumpstart or reset their careers. His “C.R.A.S.H. Course for Success” (and companion book, with Paul Deepan) is a unique educational program that combines motivational exercises, music, and drumming for musicians and professionals of all stripes.

“I tell students, your attitude is going to be 99.9% of life,” he says. “It’s literally everything because enthusiasm is contagious, and people want to be around musicians that are positive and that can take direction and are team players.”

Redmond of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) speaks from experience. He is now an award-winning recording and touring drummer based in Nashville and Los Angeles who has played with some of the biggest names in the music industry—Jason Aldean, Ludacris, Kelly Clarkson, Bryan Adams, Bob Seger of Local 784 (Pontiac, MI), Joe Perry, and Garth Brooks, to name a few—but he spent years of hard work, dedication, and rejections to get to where he is.

Rich Redmond of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) is an award-winning recording and touring drummer who is also a motivational speaker and author of the recent book, C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success: 5 Ways To Supercharge Your Personal and Professional Life.

He started playing drums at age six. At age 13, when he heard the The Police’s 1983 album Synchronicity—specifically, the drumming of Stewart Copeland of Local 802 (New York City)—that’s when he knew he wanted to play drums for the rest of his life. In high school he joined every band there was—concert, symphonic, marching, pep—and on nights and weekends had his own garage bands. He was a Texas all-state drummer for two years. In college at Texas Tech University he studied percussion and music education and played in every band he could. He went on to get a master’s degree in music education at the famed University of North Texas, and taught percussion in high school and college.

“Then I kicked around Dallas and played on cat food jingles and played in society bands and played smooth jazz and backed up jugglers and kicked jokes for comedians and played in killer Top 40 bands and in original music bands, and just played and played and played,” he says.

He became a member of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Fort Worth) in 1993, where local President Ray Hair (now AFM international president) was his “go-to guy.” In 1997, Redmond moved to Nashville to become a session player. “On my first day in Nashville I joined the local union,” he says.

He has spoken often about the benefits of joining the AFM and why he is a member, he says, because he wants musicians to know a professional organization is out there to help them. He loves the community aspect of the Federation, that musicians mix and mingle together, that the union creates a paper trail for its members’ contracts and payments and “always has your back and continues to get you paid,” he says.

One aspect of union membership that Redmond considers “priceless” is the affiliation with the insurance company that provides musical instrument insurance. “That’s a great reason right there to be in the union, that insurance plan,” he says. “It covers you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, anywhere in the world from everything but locust attacks and nuclear war.” He says most insurance companies won’t cover instruments but, for someone like him, where his equipment is his livelihood, insurance is a must-have. “So, the union is like solidarity. It’s a fraternity. It’s a community of like-minded individuals. There’s the protection; there is a team mentality of someone watching your back and going after your money. The professional support is great.”

For the past 20 years, Redmond has been Jason Aldean’s recording and touring drummer. He is a three-time Modern Drummer Readers Poll winner in the Country Drummer category, a 2010 winner in the clinician category, and in 2011 he was named Best Country Drummer by Drum! magazine. He has played on 26 No. 1 hit songs, as well as co-produced and written three no. 1 hit radio songs.

When he’s not in the studio or on tour, Redmond is writing songs, producing records, authoring books, and acting. One of his great passions is motivating others with his “C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success: 5 Ways To Supercharge Your Personal and Professional Life”—a motivational speech program that he has been giving for the past decade, and about which he published a book by the same name earlier this year.

“The message is basically built on an acronym, which stands for Commitment, Relationships, Attitude, Skill, And Hunger. These are five things that anyone from any walk of life can use to cultivate more success, more enjoyment in both their personal and professional life,” Redmond says. As he writes in his book, “In my experience, people who show unshakeable Commitment to their dreams, to their craft, and their Relationships while maintaining a positive Attitude and rejecting complacency are the ones who tend to be ‘lucky’ enough to be in the right place at the right time. … The CRASH! formula gives you a method for working hard, executing your plans effectively, and transforming your life.”

Redmond uses his drums during his motivational speeches in a talk-play-talk-play format, which resonates with people young and old, he says. Whether he is talking to Fortune 500 company executives, pharmaceutical reps, real estate agents, or high school and college students, Redmond’s message is the same. He urges his listeners to have a laser focus and a vision for their future, a lot of determination and solid follow-through. “Hard work will trump raw talent every time, but if you have both of those things, you really can be unstoppable. It’s a universal message, and a customizable message,” he says. “And I wrap it all up by saying you have to stay hungry for success. Whether you’re a first-year musician or, like me, I’ve been playing the drums for 43 years. I’m only going to stay relevant by staying hungry for success in realizing that passion is my engine and hard work is the fuel. So, if I’m passionate about music, it doesn’t feel like I’m working hard and the harder I work, the luckier I get, which becomes a cycle of self-empowerment.”

To learn more about Rich Redmond and his course, visit his websites at richredmond.com and crashcourseforsuccess.com.

Joint Venture Agreement

Are You Using the AFM Joint Venture Agreement to Protect your Intellectual Property?

dave pomeroyby Dave Pomeroy, AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 257 (Nashville, TN)

How does it work?

The AFM Joint Venture Agreement is designed for self-contained bands who want to document their recordings and business relationship with a no-cost contract that protects everyone involved. For every successful band, there are many more who don’t make it, and loose ends can come back to haunt you. When you are in your creative and exploratory mode, it’s not always easy to talk business with collaborators. But at some point, it is important to make sure you are all on the same page. A handshake agreement is great until it doesn’t work, and then it really doesn’t work! Along with completing the process of publishing your original tunes, you need to protect the intellectual property rights of your musical performances as well.

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Nashville Lawmakers Act to Protect Contractors

Lawmakers in Nashville have introduced a new piece of legislation that would extend the state’s sexual harassment protections to include, not only employees of a given business, but contractors as well. The legislation is designed to protect recording artists, session players, songwriters, producers, and others who work in the city’s music industry.

One thing the bill won’t fix is the strict way sexual harassment is defined at the federal level. It can be very difficult to prove and must be both severe and pervasive. Also, Federal law restricts legal recourse to employers of 15 or more people.

2018 Brings Group Health Insurance Plan and New Members to Local 257

Local 257 (Nashville, TN) President Dave Pomeroy (left) worked out a deal with RJ Stillwell of Sound Healthcare to offer reduced rate health insurance to Local 257 members who live in Tennessee.

In December, AFM Local 257 (Nashville, TN), working with longtime health insurance advocate RJ Stillwell and his company Sound Healthcare, introduced three Blue Cross Blue Shield group health insurance plans available to members. The plans are all ACA compliant—one HSA qualified bronze plan and two silver plans.

“The rates are very competitive and much better than most options out there,” says Local 257 President Dave Pomeroy. “This is something we have been discussing and working on for a long time. We are very excited it has finally come to fruition.”

This unique and exclusive plan is only available to Local 257 members in good standing who live in Tennessee. Because the Blue Cross Blue Shield network we are using is a nationwide PPO (Blue Network P), it will be especially helpful for touring musicians, as many marketplace ACA plans do not have coverage outside your local area, unless you have a life-threatening emergency.

Local 257 is also offering a reduced rate to join or reactivate during the membership drive in progress now through the end of March 2018. Currently, new and returning members can waive the local and Federation initiation and reinstatement fees when joining Local 257.

The combination of the 2018 membership drive and the new health care plan has resulted in a dramatic increase in member applications since the announcement in mid-November, with more than 100 new members already signed up. This member benefit is one more tangible thing that the Nashville Musicians Association offers its members. For many who have been on the fence about joining in the past, this is already proving to be the tipping point to finally join the AFM.

As our membership numbers increase, so does our collective voice, and this creates the rising tide that lifts all boats. Solidarity rules!

Reggie Young

American Original: The Storied Career of Reggie Young

Reggie Young

Reggie Young of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) with his 1957 Stratocaster at Jackson Highway Studio, Florence, Alabama.

Few session musicians can lay claim to the deep roots of Reggie Young. Among guitarists, he is revered. His instinct for phrasing has consistently rendered artful licks mimicked by hundreds of other players. The now 80-year-old musician of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) crafted some of the most famous guitar riffs in history. Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away,” James Carr’s “Dark End of the Street,” Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) member Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Dusty Springfield’s classic “Son of a Preacher Man,” and Elvis Presley’s comeback hit, “Suspicious Minds.” The list goes on.

In the 1960s and early 1970s Young and the rhythm ensemble known as the Memphis Boys were at the heart of the American Sound Studio at 827 Thomas Street in Memphis. What followed in that five-year period, between 1967 and 1972, was an unparalleled run of more than 120 Top 40 hits.

“We thought it was normal,” Young says, “but it was extraordinary. The talent of everybody combined contributed to the success.” Session work would take Young from Memphis to Nashville and corridors along the way at FAME Studio, Muscle Shoals Records, Stax Records, and Royal Studios. The work led to major tours around the country and Europe and as an opening act, witnessing Beatlemania. “I feel like I was in the middle of the peak of the session world as a studio player.” Of those days, he says, “It was rewarding. There was a lot of camaraderie.”

The story of Reggie Young may well be the story of Southern soul music. He was born in Caruthersville, Missouri, in 1936, and raised in Osceola, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. His father played Hawaiian guitar—old music like “Sweet Lelani,” Young recalls—and bought him a National flat top when he was 14 years old. Young was fueled by the Delta blues, as well as Django Reinhardt and B.B. King. Most of his musical education came by way of radio, inspired by the Chet Atkins and Jerry Byrd show, Two Guitars, which aired on the now famous WSM radio out of Nashville.

By 1955, Young got his first break with Eddie Bond and the Stompers, which recorded the rockabilly song, “Rockin’ Daddy.” The song charted quickly and Mercury Records signed the band to a deal. A local disc jockey promoting tours hired them to join a tour that included Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, and Roy Orbison.

In 1959, Young was working at Royal Studios cutting records, expanding his range with saxophonist Ace Cannon, trumpeter and bandleader Willie Mitchell, and drummer Al Jackson. Young wrote several instrumentals with Mitchell, who would later produce Al Green’s most successful albums. Young recalls playing the Plantation Inn in West Memphis with B.B. King’s band. “A white guy couldn’t sit in with that band. The crowd wouldn’t go for it. So, I’d do it, but I’d be behind the curtain,” he says.

Young says, “You could sell instrumentals in those days.” He was just practicing on his old ’59 Gibson when, he says, “I tuned the guitar down two whole steps, striking the loose strings with a pencil in a rocking rhythm. The strings were heavier back then and it sounded real good when I played a shuffle beat.” It was an old jazz trick the drummer would use with his sticks on the upright bass. The record was signed and the tune “Smokie Part 2” became the number one R&B hit and rose to number 17 on the pop charts. Instrumentals would set the standard for the label for several years and Billboard voted Bill Black’s Combo the number one instrumental band from 1960 to 1962.

Young was drafted into the Army in 1960 and served for almost two years at Kagnew Station in Ethiopia. When he returned, “Smokie” was still on the charts. Fortunately, Young says, “The studio gave us a choice of paying us scale or letting us have a piece of the record. We all took a cut except for the saxophone player. He got scale—$41.25—and we made a lot of money.”

In between sessions, Young often traveled to New York City to work for Atlantic Records, adding guitar to releases by R&B greats Don Covay and Solomon Burke. Because of their success putting out smash hits, Bill Black’s Combo got an offer to be an opening act for the first American tour of The Beatles. Thirty days in the states and 30 days in Europe. It was in 1964 and “A Hard Day’s Night” was a hit.

At the time, Young says, “The union had a trade agreement with England and we were the trade band for The Beatles. In Europe, we backed up The Ronettes, who had the hit, ‘Be My Baby.’ Lulu was there, and The Kinks.” The tour yielded great music, long jam sessions, and new musical partnerships. Young became good friends with George Harrison. On the second leg of the tour, he met a 20-something Eric Clapton (then a member of the Yardbirds). “He was a blues player and I was too, so we hit it off pretty good. We learned from each other,” Young says.

In 1967, Young joined the house band of guitarist and producer Chips Moman (of Stax Records fame) as part of The Memphis Boys. at American Sound Studio. With Young on guitar and fellow Local 257 members Gene Chrisman on drums, Bobby Wood and Bobby Emmons on piano and organ, and Mike Leech and Tommy Cogbill alternating on bass, they ushered in waves of rock and roll, soul, and early R&B. In fact, it was one of the few studio bands at the time to play both pop music and R&B.

Many musical collaborations would change, seemingly overnight, when Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis April 4, 1968, according to Young. Big acts, like Aretha Franklin, canceled bookings at American Sound Studio and worse—although musicians had long integrated—Young felt in the aftermath, even good friends became distant.

Hi Records and American Sound Studio came to an end, and Young moved on to Nashville in 1972, where he quickly became an integral member of the Nashville studio scene, playing with J. J. Cale, Cat Stevens, George Strait of Local 433 (Austin, TX), Paul Simon of Local 802 (New York City), and Merle Haggard, among others. In 2014, Young contributed to the album, The Breeze: An Appreciation of J. J. Cale, produced by Eric Clapton and Simon Climie.

In the mid 1980s, Young hit the road with The Highway Men, which comprised Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson of Local 433, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson of Local 257. He says, “It scared me at first to leave my main job, doing studio work. But we’d go out in fall and springtime, all over the world for five years.” Young remembers each star trying to outdo the other on stage at night. He says, “Everybody had a bus. It looked like the Ringling Bros. Circus.”

Of his distinctive sound, his wife, Jenny—a classically trained cellist and member of Local 257—says, “It’s his tone; even at 80, he has beautiful tone.” Young adds, “I was never trying to be somebody else.” Eric Clapton famously singled out Young in his autobiography as one of the best guitar players he’d ever heard.

Earlier this year, the musician who was responsible for scores of hits by other artists finally recorded his first solo record, Forever Young. In his golden years, the master of session work finally found time to record his own solos. Everyone who has heard the classic songs he made famous over a 60-year career will recognize the soulful, lyrical strains of Young’s genius.

Steven Tyler Selected for Nashville Harmony Award

Musician and philanthropist Steven Tyler of Local 7 (Orange County, CA) has been named the Nashville Symphony’s 2017 Harmony Award winner. He will perform and receive the award at the December 9 Symphony Ball fundraiser. The Harmony Award recognizes the individual who best exemplifies the harmonious spirit of Nashville’s musical community.

Tyler also received the United Nations Humanitarian Award in 2015 for his philanthropic initiative Janie’s Fund (www.JaniesFund.org), which in partnership with Youth Villages, brings hope and healing to girls who have suffered trauma of abuse and neglect. As a member of the Grammy Creators’ Alliance, Tyler is deeply involved in the fight to protect the rights of established and emerging songwriters. He is also a tireless advocate for raising awareness of addiction issues and recovery solutions.

Since its inception in 1985, the Symphony Ball has raised more than $7 million for the symphony. Nashville Symphony musicians are members of 257 (Nashville, TN). Past recipients of the Harmony Award include Local 257 members Béla Fleck, Brad Paisley, Lyle Lovett, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Chet Atkins, Taylor Swift, Marty Stuart, and Keith Urban.

Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz: Young Talent Now Performs with Her Heroes

At age 26, Sarah Jarosz now regularly performs with her childhood influences. As a solo artist, the Local 257 (Nashville, TN) member took home two 2017 Grammy Awards from her fourth full-length album Undercurrent, released in 2016. It was also selected International Folk Music Album of the Year.

Growing up in the Austin suburb of Wimberly, Texas, Sarah Jarosz frequently attended live shows with her family. “I was definitely affected by the Austin music scene,” she says. “Basically, for as long as I can remember, my parents would take me into Austin to see live music pretty much every weekend.”

As a youngster Jarosz began playing piano, then added mandolin at age 10. Later she picked up guitar, clawhammer banjo, and octave mandolin. One big childhood influence was the band Nickel Creek—siblings Sean and Sara Watkins of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) and Chris Thile of Local 257—who were just kids themselves when Jarosz began following them.

“Nickel Creek was huge for me. Right around the time I was getting into mandolin I saw their music videos on CMT and I remember thinking that there are cool young people doing this, too,” she says.

Jarosz says that one reason she is a proud union member is because of the sense of community the union provides. “Part of why I fell in love with music is because, when I was 10 years old, I found a weekly bluegrass jam and fell in love with the community of that. Any time you have a chance to continue this community experience with something like the union, it’s super positive for everyone involved.”

In addition, she says, “I feel like we have a support system, especially as hard as it is being a touring musician. I think that’s really important for people who do what we do.”

Doors Opening at Telluride

By age 12 Jarosz was performing regularly at local events. In 2007, she took on her biggest gig to date: the Telluride Music Festival in Colorado. That’s where, at age 16, she met producer Gary Paczosa, who regularly works with people like Local 257 members Chris Thile, Gillian Welch, Dolly Parton, and Alison Krauss. Impressed with Jarosz, he invited her to visit his Nashville studio.

“I was definitely super green in the studio,” recalls Jarosz. “We did some low-key, no pressure demos. It was my first time laying things down solo.”

The following spring, Jarosz signed a record deal with Sugar Hill and began working with Paczosa on her first album, Song Up in Her Head, released in 2009. With that came her first opportunity to record with some of the musicians she’d been watching for years at festivals. Guest appearances included Thile, Stuart Duncan, and Jerry Douglas of Local 257. 

“Gary always encouraged me, from the very beginning, to reach for the stars, and ask the best people we could think of to be part of it,” says Jarosz. “I think working with him, those musicians realized I was taking it seriously.


“One of the things that was so exciting as a young musician was having the opportunity to attend music festivals during the summer break from school, and not only seeing many of my musical heroes perform live, but often times getting to jam with them backstage or sit in during their sets,” she says. “Thinking back on it, I am so thankful to all of those people for being so generous with their time and wisdom to contribute their musical genius to my albums over the years, especially the first one. It was a dream come true for those musicians to believe in me at such an early age.”

After high school, Jarosz headed straight to the New England Conservatory where she balanced studying and her career while earning a degree in Contemporary Improvisation. “It was tough, especially in my sophomore year when I was working on my second record, Follow Me Down,” she says. “I wanted to have the experience of moving to a new city and doing the college thing. I think it was important for me to have the time and the ‘buffer’ of not going directly on the road after high school.”

“Psychologically, it had a positive impact on my life, and maybe even the longevity of my career,” she explains. “Musically, it exposed me to different styles that I hadn’t been exposed to before—a lot of jazz and free improvisation, and more in-depth work on my own music. Those musical experiences expanded my ear and prepared me for the different musical situations that I find myself in [now]. To be thrown into something completely different makes you look differently at what you do.”

Meanwhile, the acoustic world was already taking note of her talent. She received a Grammy nomination for “Mansinneedof” off her very first album. Her third album, Build Me Up from Bones, was nominated Best Folk Album and its title track was nominated Best American Roots Song in 2014. The Americana Music Association’s American Music Honors & Awards nominated her for Emerging Artist of the Year (2010) and Instrumentalist of the Year (2011). In 2012, her song “Come Around” was nominated Americana Music Association Song of the Year.

Upon graduation in 2013, it was a relief to finally be free to focus on music. “Now I feel fully settled into my life and I am sort of honing in on what I want to do as a musician,” she says. As she’s matured and relaxed into her true musical self, she says Undercurrent, takes a fresh approach compared to her previous albums, which relied heavily on her instrumental virtuosity.

Paring Down

“The longer I do this, the more I think that simple is sometimes better and I don’t need to prove my musicianship within the songs themselves,” she says. “Undercurrent is the simplest album both in terms of songs and the way it was recorded. I’m trying to get closer to the ‘marrow’ of the song.”

One of Jarosz’s greatest learning experiences has been the opportunity to work with Prairie Home Companion, first with Garrison Keillor’s The America the Beautiful—Prairie Home Companion show tour and now with Chris Thile’s weekly broadcast.

“It’s been a really great outlet to sing harmony on this person’s song or play a little mandolin to back up an arrangement. It forces me to be a listener in a more supportive way. I’ve learned such great lessons from having the opportunity to do that,” she says.

Another project that got its start a couple years ago is a trio she formed with fiddler-singer Sara Watkins (from Nickel Creek) and singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan of Local 802 (New York City). During an impromptu opening set they did for the Punch Brothers at the 2014 Telluride Festival something clicked and the musicians made it a priority to get together again.

This summer the band they formed, I’m With Her, is doing a series of concerts as part of the American Acoustic tour with the Punch Brothers. The trio of ladies is somewhat of an anomaly in the acoustic world. “In some festival settings there are a lot of dudes in the line-up,” says Jarosz, though they do not dwell on the negative energy of that reality. “I know that Sara and Aoife feel the same way. If you are the best at what you do, are genuine to yourself, and do it long enough, the cream will rise to the top. Hopefully, as time goes on, those [gender] lines will continue to blur.”

“I’m really excited about this project with Aoife and Sara, and I feel like it will play a bigger role in my life and career over the next couple years,” she says. The group released its first original song, “Little Lies,” in July.

“I’m happy to say that some of my biggest influences I now consider friends. They were heroes, and then mentors, especially Chris. He’s put in so much time to teach me over the years. Now I have the opportunity to work with him on Prairie Home Companion. It’s kind of cool to look over the last 15 years and see that progression,” she says.

“I think it’s really kind of special within the acoustic scene, and I know that Chris had that as well with people like Belá Fleck and Jerry Douglas [both members of Local 257] mentoring him from an early age,” she says. “You are inclined to do that for younger people who are coming up after you.”

Just 10 years into her career, Jarosz can already name dozens of big name collaborators. This summer Jarosz will also be doing shows with Mary Chapin Carpenter of Local 161-710 (Atlanta, GA).

“The nice thing about working with Sara and Aoife is that we tend to have similar instincts when it comes to music, so working on a song we all sort of fall into the same way musically. It’s also nice to work with someone who doesn’t think the same way. That’s happened a lot on Prairie Home Companion where we are working out other peoples’ songs and seeing other approaches. Sometimes that can lead to really beautiful things because it’s not necessarily the obvious outcome. It’s important to put yourself in musical situations where you have a good balance of both,” she says.

Jarosz advises young people considering a career in the acoustic world to follow that path. “Growing up, if I was scared to sit down and jam with someone like Chris Thile, or any of my heroes, ultimately, I got the nerve to do it and it was always rewarding. Finding those situations and embracing them makes you grow as a young musician, even if they scare you a little bit. If you are constantly doing things within your comfort zone, you are not going to grow,” she says. “I attribute a lot of the work I’ve done to having great heroes to look up to.”

She concludes, “Also, finding people you love to play music with and finding ways to keep it fun is all important for a long-lasting career and love of music.”