Steel slide, honky tonk, and long-distant stare, we’ve all heard it before.
That is, until Sarah Shook & The Disarmers release new music.
Stepping into the new record, Nightroamer (February 18th Thirty Tigers), Shook asks “where is the offbeat situational relationship handbook? I feel like a lot of what I write is that––and most of the time, I don’t have the answers. I’m just asking the questions that we’re all asking.” Those who know Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, from previous releases or the enchanting presence of the live shows know offbeat is only the beginning.
Shook’s vocal subtleties, paired with all the right instrumental elements harkens back to a more traditional time a place in music that is mixed with a sense of Patsy Cline in one ear and punk in the other. Nightroamer culminates in the unapologetic honky tonk punk style established by the North Carolina-based Sarah Shook & the Disarmers many have come to follow over the years yet this record leans slightly into pop assemblies which, in fruition, expands the borders of Sarah Shook & the Disarmers just enough to project the sound and style into the realm of fresh and evocative. There is a sense of tension carried throughout that commands our attention and never fails to deliver in these ten new tracks. Reminiscent of a dusty old hotel room somewhere in middle America longing for an anchor point elsewhere while reflecting on realities of relationships and the steps taken for self-preservation, the record is a boozy-swagger salve on the road to awareness and Nightroamer only gets stronger as the record progresses. The gritty, take-no-shit-off-anyone air that emanates from Sarah Shook & the Disarmers naturally begins to feel like the honky tonk answer to Fiona Apple.
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers are living breathing proof you don’t need to be some platinum blonde or drive some massive pickup to make country, you just have to do it your way. It is about the heart of the sound and Nightroamer has more heart in every word, in every chord, than a majority of what you’ll hear on the radio today; it just isn’t all sunshine and butterflies. As Shook puts it, “I’m starting to realize that being an outlier and a weirdo––it doesn’t have to be a bad thing,”