Friday, April 28, 2017

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers -- Sidelong

There's been a lot of buzz about Nikki Lane and Margo Price as the next generation of (women's) outlaw country music but I've took a spin through their albums and...I dunno. I just don't buy it. There's a certain slavishness to making it sound old, to projecting an image of a woman who just doesn't give a shit, that makes their acts just that -- an act. Sarah Shook, on the other hand, is the real damn deal. Equal parts Lydia Loveless and Hank, Shook displays her scars with honesty and aplomb, the kind of person who has real war stories and lots of practice sharing them.

Like the best guitar slingers, Shook unabashedly approaches her pain with sadness, frustration, humility, and humor. "Keep the Home Fires Burnin'" opens the album with a dirt-kickin', boot-stompin' drive that never lets up. The Disarmers are one of the best country bands out there, driving Shook's searing, trembling vocals with a hell-bent possession. Then, of course, there's "Dwight Yoakam," the country song I've been waiting for, in which Shook's girlfriend leaves her for another crooner. (I don't like Shook because she openly sings of relationships -- or the lack thereof -- with women, but it sure as hell endeared her to me.) Shook's rough-and-tumble vibe might not get her out of the basement bars she and the Disarmers must surely destroy, but there's no question in my mind that she belongs in the country firmament.

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers -- Official, Facebook, Purchase from Bloodshot Records

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