Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
Official Website: www.disarmers.com
"...a sneering fusion of punk-rock autonomy and say-it-like-it-is country from the classic era, paired with a timeless vocal warble and tons of attitude...she's a nonconforming spitfire..." - Rolling Stone
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers are a country band with a sneer, a bite, and no apologies. Shook's original songs take on the usual country spin on shitty relationships, bad decisions, and excessive alcohol consumption for damn good reasons. Songs with self-explanatory self-deprecation, "Fuck Up", tangled in with a portrayal of a doomed relationship dripping with sarcasm,"The Nail", are bastioned by the subtleties of a bar patron considering taking a chance on a stranger in title track, "Sidelong".
When Shook's first band, Sarah Shook & the Devil, broke up after a solid three year plus run, Shook and her guitarist, Eric Peterson, continued to meet, practice, and plan. In late 2013 they put together brief stint called The Dirty Hands which ended after a handful of shows. The project they were looking for soon arrived with the addition of former Two Dollar Pistols frontman, John Howie Jr., (now frontman for John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff) as drummer. Sarah Shook & the Disarmers was born.
Shook and chief engineer of Manifold Recording Studios, Ian Schreier, had worked together some years before when he supervised intern Mario Bianchi recording the Devil's seven song EP simply titled, Seven. Shook and Schreier had been discussing creating a full length album together for an age and, finally, during the first weekend of April, 2015, it happened. After nearly a decade of playing solo or fronting a band, Shook is releasing her first full-length album, Sidelong, on October 16, 2015.
The Nouveaux Honkies
Official Website: www.tnhband.com
For many touring bands, the road is their home away from home, an ever-rolling muse that runs beneath their tires and works its way into every aspect of their lives, including their songwriting. For hard- traveling Americana duo The Nouveaux Honkies, the road is literally their home, as the two live out of a creatively rebuilt RV that they use to tour throughout the year in the American South. Rolling along in their high tech, solar powered, self-sufficient chariot, equipped with its own espresso bar, mini studio, and more comforts than most studio apartments in NYC, Tim O’Donnell and Rebecca Dawkins worked out a great formula to tie their travels to their music. They set up in a key American city for a couple months at a time, soaking up inspiration and making friends, before moving on. In this way, their new album Blues For Country, draws its sounds from the musical influences of New Orleans, Nashville, Florida, Austin, and the Texas hill country where they recorded it. “As far as genres are concerned, I don’t think it is an intentional thing for us to be bouncing around the map,” confesses Tim O’Donnell, The Nouveaux Honkies’ songwriter and lead singer. “It is just my personality. I love lots of stuff. To me there is good music and bad music and I really have no formula on what it is. I just know when I like it. Jimmy Webb, Jimmy Reed, and Jimi Hendrix all give me this crazy feeling when I listen to them.” With all these regional flavors, it’s no wonder The Nouveaux Honkies’ music jumps so easily and happily between genres, mixing up a bubbling Americana gumbo of blues, country, roots, R&B, Texas swing, honky-tonk and old-fashioned songwriting.
To record Blues for Country, The Nouveaux Honkies pulled their RV into the peaceful hill country town of Dripping Springs, Texas, a tiny town 30 minutes West of Austin. “We had our dogs, our espresso machine, our bed, our kitchen and the whole thing was super relaxed,” remembers Dawkins. “I think it reflects in the recording. It doesn’t feel frantic or rushed even though we were in and out in 8 days.” On Blues for Country, O’Donnell’s whiskey-tinged vocals are a perfect match for Rebecca Dawkins’ glorious harmonies and soaring fiddling; the two of them can sound as charming as an old-school country duet like Parton and Wagoner, or as bittersweet as that old recording of Townes Van Zandt and Emmylou Harris. In fact, the two cover Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” on the new album, though most of the songs are originals from O’Donnell’s pen. O’Donnell’s songs track the road-rambling ways of The Nouveaux Honkies, from “Life Ain’t Easy,” an unvarnished look at the touring life of musicians, to “I Know Things You Read About,” a funny song that speaks to the hard-won life skills learned on the road, or “Hours Into Days,” which sadly chronicles the distance that can well up between two people. O’Donnell’s the best kind of songwriter–able to swing between bitingly funny and touchingly honest–and he showcases this on stellar songs like the opening track “Blues for Country,” which perfectly mixes R&B vocal swagger with Dawkin’s country fiddle.
On Blues for Country, The Nouveaux Honkies roll hard through songs that have soaked up the fresh air of the American backroads this duo drive through every day, informed by all the great cities of the South, and beholden only to the open road.