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Album of the Week: 'Revelations' by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

River Shook standing in front of a grey wall. They have on a grey jacket rolled up at the sleeves and tattoos on their arms.
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers released Revelations on March 29, 2024.

"Revelations" by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers is KAXE's Album of the Week for April 22-28, 2024.

Alt-country rockers Sarah Shook & the Disarmers released their latest album, Revelations, at the end of March. It is Shook’s fourth album and the first one where they handled production themselves.

A hard-touring and formerly hard-drinking band based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Shook & the Disarmers have a newfound sobriety that shows itself with insightful songs about bad relationships, bad choices, substance abuse and moving forward toward a better life.

Speaking about their music, Shook said in a statement, “I’m a firm believer that if you are an artist, and you want to make better art, a big part of that isn’t just exercising your musical skills; it’s growing as a human being. So every time I make a record, I want to be able to listen to it and look back on who I was then. I want to see this arc and this evolution. That’s really important to me.”

Shook has been a single parent since the age of 21. They recently came out as non-binary and changed their name to River.

Revelations has plenty of catchy, sing-along choruses and maintains a lot of twang along with the rock. The lead single, “Backsliders” shows off a bouncy rhythm along with slide guitar. Shook sings about the difficulty of leaving a relationship with the killer line, “Hate I can't say no as easily as you say yes.”

The remaining songs are incisive, well-constructed and sung from a world-weary but still growing perspective. Sarah Shook & the Disarmers are coming into their own as a band, songwriter and producer.

Must Listens

  • "Revelations"
  • "Dogbane"
  • "Backsliders"
  • "Give You All My Love"
  • "Criminal"

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Dan was born on the south side of Chicago and remembers dancing to Booker T and the MG's as his 1st musical memory. What followed has been a lifelong adventure of hearing new music and being exposed to the people and communities that produced the artists. Forwards in all directions!