Country music was founded on the regrets of hungover, hard-drinking men. Contrast it with today's mainstream country music, where men sing less about their regrets and more about how drinking makes everything better, and you can see how the pop country narrative has moved away from escaping through the bottom of a bottle. Ignoring whatever kind of politics within the industry inspired the shift, mainstream country isn't necessarily turning to the bottle when shit goes south anymore.
But the women who make up country's underground are. Kind of. Following in the footsteps of mainstream heavy-hitters like Gretchen Wilson or Miranda Lambert, and lesser-known artists like Margo Price, Jaime Wyatt, and Elise Davis, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers aren't just co-opting the hard-drinking attitude of the boys, they're taking the narrative and showing them how to do it right (provided they can get out of bed in the morning).
Out April 28 on Bloodshot Records, Sidelong is the Disarmers' first serious release. Devout fans of the Chapel Hill, NC band will note the record was technically released in October, but after signing with Bloodshot the band was asked to take it down ahead of its re-release with the label, according to Shook."Solitary Confinement," "Nothing Feels Right But Doing Wrong," and "Road That Leads To You" all deal with the good times and the bad that come with drinking, and while it might not feel like an accomplishment for a self-identified bisexual single mother to be singing about the frustrations that come with wanting nothing more than a good-ass party session, it is. Look no further than what's topping the Billboard Country Charts if you need more proof of that.
"I think there's kind of a stigma around [women singing about drinking and partying]," Shook said. Maybe that transcends all genres but specifically in country, it's just not something women talk about. And we certainly do it, you know? So why not talk about it?"
Sidelong is out April 28, but you can hear it before then below. Preorder it here.