Years. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers. Bloodshot. 2018
In some alternate geography, there is a state-line between Texas and Tennessee. Of course, it goes without saying that there is a roadhouse straddling that line. I can only see the fuzzy outlines: the details slip away when I try to picture the layout, the crowd, the endless array of amusements and distractions that are housed within this honkey tonk heaven. The only thing that I know for sure about this eighth wonder of a world that is kinda, sorta like our own . . . only better . . . is that Sarah Shook and the Disarmers are the house band and they’re always on. There’s just no other way for it to be.
I have to thank No Depression, if it had not been for their readers’ poll of the 50 best Roots albums of 2018, I would still be completely in the dark. But when an act you’ve never heard of ends up on a list that includes the likes of John Prine, John Hiatt, Amanda Shires, American Aquarium and Ry Cooder, it’s hard not to let your curiosity get the better of you.
‘Years’ is one of those rare albums that seems to have its arms wrapped around the entire catalog of American popular music, even as it is kicking open a door that leads to somewhere new. It has a swagger that only comes from the knowledge of where you’ve come from, who you are, and where you’re going. This isn’t braggadocio. This is business being handled.
It’s a real challenge to direct attention to the album’s highlights. Every time I’ve tried it has just turned into the track list for the entire album.
It probably goes without saying at this point, but if I were you, I would give it a spin . . .