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Sarah Shook and the Disarmers Live Photo by Anthony Nguyen
Follow Candid Slice
3 min Read
Published September 5, 2018

Sarah Shook Is Coming To Hopscotch!

Sarah Shook is coming to Hopscotch! A member of the newer generation of Americana and alt-country artists, Shook and her band the Disarmers will perform at Lincoln Theatre on Saturday, September 8, as part of Raleigh’s annual Hopscotch Music Festival.

According to the group’s Bandcamp page, “Sarah Shook & the Disarmers are a country band with a sneer, a bite, and no apologies.”

The Disarmers have been described by music streaming platforms and the media with terms such as honky tonk, outlaw country, and rockabilly.

However, Shook defines her sound and style of music as “country punk rock ’n’ roll.”

A self-taught guitarist/singer/songwriter, Shook considers North Carolina home. She was born in Rochester, New York, but moved to NC with her family when she was 19 years old.

“My dad’s people are from Mecklenburg County and have been for generations; we have roots here,” Shook disclosed. “The road is my home now but NC is where I hang my hat when we’re not on tour,” she continued.

After being home-schooled, Shook taught herself to play acoustic guitar at age 16; she started performing at 22.

Shook played gigs around North Carolina for nearly a decade, honing her craft.

Sarah Shook 2018 by Derek Ketchum Photography

She formed the band Sarah Shook & the Disarmers in 2013. Band personnel has changed throughout the years.

“Eric Peterson has been my guitarist for comin’ up on eight years now,” Shook stated. “He’s played with the dBs, Let’s Active, Flat Duo Jets and a ton more [bands] over the years.”

She continued, “Our pedal steel player, Phil Sullivan, is a dang talented human; he can play just about anything with strings and generally has an amazing brain for music.”

“Aaron Oliva moved back to central NC right when we happened to be lookin’ for an upright bassist.”

“Kevin McClain is our drummer; he joined up with us back in February and his first tour with us was down to SXSW and back. He is relentlessly hilarious and an all-around great human to be on the road with,” Shook concluded.

“Sidelong,” the group’s debut album, was independently recorded and released in 2015.

Chicago-based label Bloodshot Records re-released “Sidelong” in April 2017.

“Years,” Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ latest album, was released to rave reviews in April 2018. The album was recorded at Manifold Recording Studio in Chatham County, NC. The band kicked off a worldwide tour at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC.

Sarah Shook BW Photo by Cowtownchad

When asked what the reception was like for the new album, Shook responded, “Magnificent.” She continued, “We’ve been touring relentlessly this year in support of it and have yet to play a show that at least a few folks weren’t singin’ [and] shoutin’ along.”

It is clear from the songs’ subject matter and lyrics that Shook feels comfortable drawing from life experiences and past relationships.

“That’s where the real shit comes from,” she confided.

Heartfelt, raw emotions are evident in songs such as “Good As Gold” and “What It Takes.”

“Years” has become more and more of a critical darling throughout the last several months. The album has appeared on many “best of” lists.

When asked if she enjoys touring, Shook replied, “The highway is home; my band is my family. So yeah, [I’m] in my element out there.”

Shook and her band plan on recording a new album at “some point in 2019.”

She said that they are currently “digging in, tweaking, perfecting–all the songs for the next record.”

“It’s an intense but super cool process,” she continued.

Regarding goals for the future, Shook revealed that she aims to “Tour, tour, tour. Make a bunch of solid damn records. Fit every goddamn square inch of life into the only one I got while I’m young.”

If you can’t catch Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ appearance at Hopscotch in Raleigh this weekend, you are in luck. Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro will host a documentary screening and live performance by the band on Thursday, October 18.

Be sure to see Sarah Shook & the Disarmers on their way up!

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers Promo Photo by John Gessner 2018

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  • Ginny

  • I have a journalism degree and an English minor from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. I am a staff writer for I enjoy music, books, photography, hiking and travel. Previous jobs include positions at Deep South Entertainment in Raleigh and ReverbNation in Durham. All my articles.

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