Post by Misha
I’ve never met Sarah Shook, but I feel as though I know her.
I grew up in the deep country, which means I grew up listening to country music on the radio. Country radio is funny; it’s the only music I know that defines itself entirely through nostalgia for the present moment.
In high school I used to ride around in the middle seat of my boyfriend’s little 1990 Tacoma listening to Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley etc., and though those drives were the very picture of open road freedom, the music told me that I was trapped living over and over in a moment that was already gone. Because country radio is written from a studio in Nashville about how it felt-in-the-past-tense to be in that truck, roaring down the two lane highway dodging deer and missing a tailpipe. It’s a painting of a perfect day which may or (more probably) may not have ever happened. It’s never written from inside the truck. You can tell because it’s missing the grime on the window.
I feel as though I know Sarah because Sarah is in the driver’s seat. She’s every hard luck woman that I admired (and feared a little) growing up. The voice scratched by a pack a day since high school, trained out of softness by one too many tough breaks. Scuffed riding boots and old Wranglers. Coors and Copenhagen from the gas station. And the tiredness. It’s impossible to romanticize hard times when you’re that tired.
Sarah doesn’t shy away from her demons, and this is not an album about nostalgia. Years is heavy and present. It sits with you, in you, for a long time, but it’s not an album about tragedy either. It’s music for by and about tough, resilient women, and it celebrates their triumphs while offering a rare and poignant poetry about the price of the struggle.