Since Big Grove Brewery opened its taproom in Iowa City, they have been booking music showcasing local and touring country, rock and roots music. That theme continues with North Carolina’s Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, who take over the taproom June 27. Shook and company are touring on Sidelong, the band’s first full-length out on Bloodshot Records.
Shook and the Disarmers are most certainly a country band, but far from the pop country you may see in an arena or hear on country radio, and I don’t think you’ll see a single backwards baseball cap on stage. This music is full of classic old-school twang, tales of heartbreak, drinking too much and gallows humor. Shook’s voice has that classic country twang, a bit of Grace Slick vibrato and an honesty that makes you believe her when she sings lines like “I keep on listening for your key in the door / I drive myself insane” on “Keep The Home Fires Burnin’.”
If you’re leery about the country label, Shook’s outlook should put you at ease.
“This genre of music attracts a certain kind of person sometimes who is very close-minded, and I want to tell those people, ‘Look, you’re welcome to be a fan. But full disclosure, I’m a fucking civil rights activist, and I’m a bisexual, and I’m an atheist, and I’m a vegan.’ You know what I mean? That’s a whole lot of non-redneck shit right there,” Shook said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
There’s no cover for this show and there isn’t much else to do on a Tuesday night, so there’s no reason not to go, have a few quality Big Grove brews and have a good time with Sarah Shook and the Disarmers.