Imagine a young Shawn Colvin with her shimmering voice and slight country twang, and you’ll come close to appreciating Sarah Jarosz. This fourth release from the Texas native — who attended the New England Conservatory and has studied everything from bluegrass to klezmer — is in a singer-songwriter mode; four songs feature just Jarosz and acoustic guitar, while others are tautly arranged progressive-folk gems with backup from guitarists Luke Reynolds (Guster) and Jedd Hughes (Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell). All are Jarosz originals, comprising a cycle about love relationships, from losing hope in “Early Morning Light” to reflection in the mystical “Green Lights” (which sounds like early Beth Orton), anger in the ironically titled “House of Mercy,” and renewed hope in “Take Me Back,’’ with an elegant Simon & Garfunkel feel. Jarosz often conveys a poetic fragility, but her positive attitude wins out in this key verse: “The world is full of bad-news bearers/ but I can make the world a little better.”
ESSENTIAL “Green Lights”
Sarah Jarosz performs at the Sinclair June 28.
Steve Morse can be reached at email@example.com.