WXPN Welcomes... When Sidelong, Sarah Shook
When Sidelong, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ debut album, was released in early 2017, it quickly earned kudos for its blast of fresh, fierce honesty and sly wit. It was a welcome new voice in a genre too often mired in the staid and conventional. And while that record may have come to many as a surprise, 2018’s follow-up, Years, solidifies the point: Sarah Shook & the Disarmers have moved from getting people’s attention to commanding it. North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Always passionate, at times profane, Sarah stalks/walks the line between vulnerable and menacing, her voice strong and uneasy, country classic but with contemporary, earthy tension. You can hear in her voice what’s she’s seen; world weary, lessons learned—or not—but always defiant. She level-steady means what she says. Writing with a blunt urgency—so refreshing these days it’s almost startling—Sarah’s lyrics are in turn smart, funny, mean, and above all, uncompromising. Sly turns of phrase so spot on they feel as old and true as a hymn. Anger that’s as confrontational as it is concise. Humor that’s as wry and resigned as a park bench prophet. The Disarmers hit all the sweet spots from Nashville’s Lower Broad to Bakersfield and take Sarah’s unflinching tales out for some late-night kicks. At times, it’s as simple and muscular as Luther Perkins’ boom-chicka-boom, or as downtown as Johnny Thunders. The Disarmers keep in the pocket, tight and tough. Sarah Shook & the Disarmers have been covered by the likes of Rolling Stone, The FADER, Noisey/VICE, The Wall Street Journal, and more.
For nearly half a decade, The National Reserve has spent its Friday nights lighting it up at a Brooklyn bar, winning over barflies with epic sets and a remarkable breadth of songcraft and showmanship. Now, with their stunning new Ramseur Records debut album, MOTEL LA GRANGE, the band has crafted a rich and raucous collection that instantly places them among Americana’s finest – its force, directness, and performance not unlike some lost recording unearthed from the golden age of 70s rock ‘n’ roll. Founded and fronted by singer-guitarist Sean Walsh, The National Reserve mine an archetypal musical seam, marrying gutbucket R&B, Laurel Canyon lyricism, New Orleans funk workouts, late night soul, and boozy rock ‘n’ roll to create their own timeless brand of American music. Songs like “Found Me A Woman” and the indelible title track reveal a gifted new tunesmith while masterfully reminding one and all of the simple beauty of a great American bar band – two guitars, organ, bass and drums rocking out in the corner, singing their songs to soundtrack the night. The National Reserve is now planning to bring all the fun and fire of their fervent Friday night sets to the rest of the world, eager to pack as many folks into their late night scene as possible.
Hannah Taylor was born a little orphan girl to a black bear in the woods of Upstate New York. She was raised on blackberries and moonshine. As an adult, she ventured to Philadelphia, home of the Citywide Special and Country Night at Bob & Barbara’s Lounge, a place where she quickly found a home crooning old school country and breaking boy’s hearts left and right. But she missed the bears. Formed almost 10 years ago, the Trio has gone through several formats focused on blues and rock. The initial plan was to act as the backing band for area artists for one-off shows, giving the trio the opportunity to find their own voice by constantly challenging themselves with new music. But then they met up with Hannah and were wooed by her sultry, yet sassy singing style and stage presence. Following her long stint as Aretha Franklin’s backup singer, they called her up and the band instantly locked into a rockabilly/blues format that sat nicely among all their tastes.
(Saturday) 8:00 pm
Ardmore Music Hall
23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003