Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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“It’s Gonna Be Wild”: Catching Up with Sarah Shook

By Annie Parnell

Photo Credit: Joshua Black Wilkins

The singular North Carolina-based outlaw country-punk act Sarah Shook & the Disarmers have had plenty of news lately. On June 8, they announced both a long-awaited new album and their signing with Nashville label Thirty Tigers, whose roster boasts artists like Cam, Charley Crockett, and Jason Isbell. 

For all their swagger on stage, Sarah is known as deeply generous and down-to-earth, a humble voice behind the powerfully vulnerable lyrics on hits like “Good as Gold” and “Dwight Yoakam.” We took a few minutes to catch up with them about the band’s big changes, the new folks they’re bringing onboard, and a few live tour dates coming up in August.

Country Queer: How have you been?

Sarah Shook: The pandemic isolation has been a roller coaster for me as I’m sure it’s been for so many of us.  With vaccination rates up and things starting to reopen and re-emerge I’ve been feeling pretty hopeful here lately.  The Disarmers just signed a deal with Thirty Tigers with an album release for Nightroamer slated for early 2022 and Ian Schreier is currently mixing my debut solo album Cruel Liars. Ian engineered and mixed “Sidelong” and “Years” and it’s great to be working with him at his new venture, Kaleidoscope Mixing & Mastering.  It’s validating as hell to be immersed in music again.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Country Queer: How do you feel about the signing? 

Sarah Shook: It was a huge step up for us.  Honestly we’re humbled to have the opportunity and we’re looking forward to working with the folks over there.

Country Queer: Why did you go with Thirty Tigers? 

Sarah Shook: Thirty Tigers has a unique, progressive, and artist-centric approach on the business side of things.  From the few meetings and interactions we’ve had with them they seem like really good folks with a genuine passion for the shit that matters most in this industry: good music.  Their roster can certainly attest.

Country Queer: You mentioned that Nightroamer comes out in early 2022. Can you tell us how far along you are on it?

Sarah Shook: We recorded this album with Pete Anderson in LA in late February through early March of 2020.  So yeah.  We were in the studio when we heard SXSW was cancelled and we had barely flown home when the entire state of California shut down and everybody and their sibling started cancelling and postponing tours.  Long story short the record has been tracked, mixed, and mastered for quite some time now but we needed to find the right home for it and it wouldn’t have been the smartest move for us to release it without being able to tour.  Waiting is tough but waiting can also bring out the best in us and I’m doing everything I can to get ready physically and mentally for next year.  It’s gonna be wild. I think it’s gonna be more than I signed up for and maybe that ain’t a bad problem to have.

Country Queer: You’ve got a bunch of live dates on the calendar. Can we expect you to roll out some of the songs from Nightroamer?  

Sarah Shook: For sure and I’ll keep y’all posted with any news on singles, etc.  We’ve played the title track “Nightroamer” a few times live but we’ll be playing at least a couple more in addition.

Country Queer: Anything else you’d like our readers to know? 

Sarah Shook: We’re excited to play some shows with Adam “Ditch” Kurtz on pedal steel and Jack Foster on drums!  We have a short run in August comin’ up fast and we hope to see some of y’all out there on the road.  We got nothing but love for you!

You can catch Sarah Shook & the Disarmers — as well as the music from Nightroamer — at these upcoming tour dates:

8/10 Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant Street

8/11 Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe

8/12 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom

8/13 Aurora, IL – The Venue

8/14 Valparaiso, IN – Prairie Magic Music Festival

8/15 Indianapolis, IN – Hi Fi Indy