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Sarah Shook and the Disarmers get real on ‘Years’

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers released “Years” in April. (John Gessner)
Sarah Shook and the Disarmers released “Years” in April. (John Gessner)

Despite the fact that her music is often categorized as country, singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Sarah Shook admittedly isn’t the biggest fan of the genre.

“If you know me even kinda you know I don’t listen to much country,” she wrote on Instagram recently. “Not impressed by much of the contemporary (expletive) and my turntable is inhabited by punk, rock n roll, and psych rock chiefly,”

This explains a lot about Shook and the blunt, no-holds-barred music she and her band the Disarmers – upright bassist Aaron Oliva, electric guitarist Eric Peterson and pedal steel player Phil Sullivan – make.

Yes, there’s a twang to Shook’s voice and a down home, honky tonk feel to the band’s most recent album “Years,” but it’s also as brash and in-your-face as one would expect from a punk rock fan.

But there’s a vulnerability to Shook’s lyrics too.

“Every night I sit ‘til sun-up drinkin’/And every day I wait for night to fall/So I can clear the darkest memories from my recollection/And hear no sounds and feel nothing at all,” she sings on “The Bottle Never Lets Me Down.”

Whether her lyrics are in-your-face or introspective, Shook wants listeners to know they’re 100 percent authentic.

“It’s enough for me to be able to sing these songs and know that every (expletive) night that I’m on the stage singing these songs they’re coming straight from my heart and straight from my life experience,” Shook told Noisey in April. “It’s good enough for me to know that it’s a genuine, authentic thing.”


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