Sarah Shook & The Disarmers prepare to bring relief to C-U


Photo courtesy of Harvey Robinson

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers will perform will play at the Rose Bowl Tavern on Monday. The band has recently celebrated the release of their third album “Nightroamer.”

By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

As they prepare for their gig this week at the Rose Bowl Tavern, Sarah Shook of Sarah Shook & The Disarmers said they hope their music brings relief to Champaign-Urbana.

“It has been a really hard couple of years. It’s been intense, like physically, emotionally, mentally,” Shook said. “I hope that the show serves as a respite and just like a safe place for people to be themselves and unwind a little bit and just have a good time and feel all the feelings.”

During the interview, Shook was in a van on the way to a show in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As of Thursday, Shook and their bandmates were eight days into their three-week tour, celebrating the release of their third album, “Nightroamer.”

“We’ve kind of been a little bit all over the map here,” Shook said. “It’s hard to keep track of where we are.”

Shook described “Nightroamer” as being expansive, reflective and soulful. During the album-writing process, Shook said they asked themselves more questions than they had answers for, in a way that made them feel open to changing their narrative. 

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“As human beings, we really get stuck in our roles because that’s like a survival mechanism,” they said. “Like, we figure out where we belong and what we do, and then we just kind of burrow into that.

Shook said “Nightroamer” is about getting out of that mindset. 

“It’s about shaking off your role and realizing that no matter how into your job, or your relationship, or whatever you are,” Shook said, “there’s still this fundamental aspect of all of us that’s like, ‘Why am I here? Why are we here? Why does life exist? What are we doing?’”

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers kicked off its tour in San Antonio, Texas, playing shows in places like Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Davenport, Iowa. On June 26, the band played at the Logan Square Arts Fest in Chicago and will play at Chicago’s Sleeping Village on June 27.

Shook described being on tour as a personal victory, saying they’re grateful to work with a crew full of talented people. 

“I feel like this tour is such a testament to how touring should be, where everything is collaborative and instead of like, weird and miserly,” Shook said. “It’s like everybody’s looking out for everybody else. It’s really healthy.”

June 28 will be the band’s first time playing at the Rose Bowl Tavern. The night’s line-up will consist of drummer Jack Foster, Casey James on pedal steel, guitarist Blake Tallent, bassist Chloe Babbes and Shook, who is on vocals and guitar. They brought along a Loar and hollow-body Gretsch — two brands of guitars — for the tour. 

The band is excited to play at the tavern and is looking forward to putting “a lot of heart and a lot of energy” into the show, Shook said. The night’s set will be around 75 minutes long. 

Shook predicted that “Been Lovin’ You Too Long,” “Nothin’ Feels Right But Doin’ Wrong” and “Sidelong” will be especially popular with the crowd, though they said it’s hard to anticipate beforehand. 

“Been Lovin’ You Too Long” is one of Shook’s favorite songs to play live, they said. For the tune, Casey James — the pedal steel player — takes over on guitar, allowing Shook to have total freeform movement. 

“It’s a little bit nerve-wracking to be singing and jumping around and not playing guitar, but it’s good,” Shook said. “I think it’s good for me to push myself beyond my comfort zone.”

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers will play at the Rose Bowl Tavern on June 28 at 9 p.m. The night will start off at 8 p.m. with special guests, The Bashful Youngens. Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets are currently on sale here


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