Album of the Day — May 11

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers — Years

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers

Sarah Shook writes with the simplicity, depth, and power of any of her contemporaries and sings with the swagger and confidence of any protagonist in a Jim Thompson novel.

With Years, the Bloodshot Records recording artist Sarah Shook & The Disarmers firmly established themselves as a formidable force in modern American music.

Now, whether Sarah Shook & The Disarmers qualify as “new country” or “Americana” or “alt-country” is a discussion best had over boilermakers…in a bar with a jukebox loaded with Hank Williams, Black Sabbath, Motorhead and The Replacements.

Like many similar artists, regardless of what you want to call it, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers owe just as much to Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash as to The Smiths and The Clash. While that’s good for the critical listener, it may help explain why some of these artists have a hard time reaching commercial critical mass.

Their music is too rock for country…and too country for rock.

Years clocks in at around 36 minutes, and qualifies as an album that is “all killer and no filler.”

This album may not break any new songwriting ground but it doesn’t need to. Years is relatable fare…the ever-popular failed relationship. If you’ve ever been frustrated by your partner, you will find yourself singing along to “New Ways To Fail”, which contains a line that I promise you’ve said at least once.

Of course, we’ve all had the urge to fly our middle finger at an ex-lover — if we’re honest, most of us have. But Years is more than therapy for a love gone bad, it’s the defiant and resolute undertone that resonates.

As Shook herself says, Years is “…about picking yourself up and dusting yourself off after years of being trampled and beaten down, jutting your chin out, head high after they’ve done their worst, and saying ‘Still here.’” Amen to that!

Not only are the songs on Years relatable, but it’s also their straightforwardness that attributes to their authenticity and their impact.

With Years, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers prove Leonardo da Vinci’s old axiom, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

“Yeah, I know I ain’t nobody’s bargain — But, hell, a little touch-up and a little paint” — Bruce Springsteen

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