Sarah Jarosz is a child prodigy no more. The singer/songwriter/mandolinist from Wimberley turned 21 last month, celebrating her birthday by ordering a Mad Dog Margarita from the Texas Chili Parlor. The drink and the bar were made famous in "Dublin Blues" (1995) by Guy Clark.
We caught up with Jarosz at the Bonnaroo music festival Sunday, where she followed a mesmerizing set with a press conference appearance alongside Kenny Rogers and comic Steven Wright. "Wow, that was an honor," she said when the panel reconvened. Rogers delighted the media audience with anecdotes and words of wisdom. "He's such a professional," she said of the University of Texas dropout celebrating his 50th anniversary as a recording artist. "That's the kind of career to strive for."
After a summer of touring, Jarosz will take a break of about a year on a career that has already produced two Grammy-nominated albums, an "Austin City Limits" taping and numerous appearances on "A Prairie Home Companion" — all while Jarosz was a student at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Even with her music schedule, Jarosz has excelled in school. She has one more year before graduating and plans to live in New York City after that.
"Not to say I don't miss Wimberley, that'll always be home," she said. "But I want to give New York a shot while I'm young."
She said she wants to concentrate on school her final year. "There's no album planned, nothing really after touring this summer." Eventually she'll get back to writing songs, but she said she'll relish a last year of college without having to travel.
Among her classes this past semester, Jarosz said she especially loved one on the history of cinema. "Do you know I'd never seen 'Citizen Kane' before? That movie blew my mind."
Though she's of drinking age, it's still possible to marvel just how young this accomplished artist is. There's so much yet to learn, so much to experience. And just as she did at Bonnaroo, watching countless acts, from Radiohead to her friends in the Punch Brothers, Jarosz will soak it up.