Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St, Cincinnati, OH
10pm, Free, 21+
North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Always passionate, and at times profane, Sarah stalks/walks the line between vulnerable and menacing. You can hear in her voice what’s she’s seen; world weary, hard lessons learned—or not—but always defiant. She level-steady means what she says. The Disarmers, with their snarling boom-chicka-boom guitars and an Old 97’s swing in the rhythm section, keep it in the pocket. Tight and tough.
Sidelong rides in the middle seat, before seat belts, of a ’77 Buick Riviera blasting down a dirt road. Rowdy punk rock sneer to the right, a bottle in a bag; organic country three chords and the truth honesty on the left—one eye in the rear view mirror and one eye on the rough road ahead. It’s a hell of a ride.
Writing with a sense of urgency—so refreshing these days it’s almost startling, Sarah’s lyrics are in turn smart, funny, mean and above all honest. Sly turns of phrase so spot on they feel as old and true as the hymnal. Anger that’s confrontational as it is concise. Humor that’s as wry and resigned as a fallen sage’s.