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All Shook Up: Kick-ass punk country

By Staff | Feb 27, 2019

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, a punk rock infused country band based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has two highly reviewed albums, an upcoming tour with indie darlings Murder by Death, and big plans for their future.

Sarah Shook – a self-defined vegan, bisexual, atheist mom – leads the band, providing vocals, lyrics and rhythm guitar. Eric Peterson handles the electric guitar, while Phil Sullivan handles the pedal steel guitar. Aaron Oliva performs on both an electric and upright bass and Kevin McClain is on drums.

“The lineup has been together for about a year now,” explained Shook. “Both Eric and Phil were in my first band, Eric and Aaron were in bands together back in the day. There’s a lot of musical history between the five of us.”

When asked how Shook would describe the band’s musical styles, she replied simply, “Punk rock country. To the people, by the people, for the people.” Shook’s message can be heard loud and clear throughout their songs, but if summed up Shook hopes fans, “don’t take any shit. When people step on you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep on goin’.”

As for influences, Shook explained, “Our sound is our own. All the players bring something unique and together it makes its own deal. We’re not like anybody else.”

The band has released two full length albums; Sidelong, their 2015 debut and Years, which was released in early 2018 to rave reviews and multiple awards, including being listed as #1 on the Chicago Tribune’s Best Albums of 2018 and appearing on Rolling Stone’s short list of Best Country & Americana Albums of 2018. More recently the group released a 7″ single for their songs Devil May Care and The Way She Looked at You.

While the band has multiple small tours planned for the Spring, the closest to our reading area will be on March 1 in Marietta, Ohio at the Adelphia Music Hall. Tickets can be purchased through supremeticket.com.

“We’ll be on the road for almost all of March touring to, around, and back from SXSW in Austin, Texas. Many of those dates are about to be announced,” said Shook, who adding that the band has, “a super cool run comin’ up in April with Murder By Death that we’re pretty pumped on and May shows that are also TBA soon.”

All of Sarah Shook and the Disarmers’ music can be found online, including on popular streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and iHeartRadio. Shook mentioned that fans, “can find plenty of music and lyric videos on YouTube.”

Merch can be found on the band’s website at www.disarmers.com/store or on Bandcamp but Shook would rather fans purchase items in person. “Our first pick would be the merch table after a gig. Our live show is through the roof!”

For readers who would like to learn more about Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, you can follow them on social media. “We’re most active on our Instagram page. You can check us out and follow us at @sarahshooksdisarmer,” explained Shook, adding, “my personal Twitter is @sarahshook and our band page on Facebook is searchable as Sarah Shook & the Disarmers.”

In closing Shook asks readers to, “Listen to the music first and if you like it, come to a show. Gotta do both for the full experience!”

Richard Allen is a freelance writer for various publications. He can be reached via email at richardallenwrites@gmail.com or at www.facebook.com/richardallenwrites