“Music has been many things to me over the years – an escape, a reckoning, catharsis,” said Sarah Shook, lead singer of Sarah Shook and the Disarmers. “I’d be long dead without it.”
Shook grew up homeschooled in Rochester, New York, in a Christian family in which music was mostly restricted, but she taught herself how to play the guitar in high school. At 19, her family moved to North Carolina. She worked on some solo projects but started forming bands in 2010.
“I was ready for a change after a few years of playing solo shows,” Shook said. “I’d seen how dynamically powerful a full band can be, and that’s exactly what I wanted. So I got me one.”
Sarah Shook and the Disarmers released its blunt and sharp debut country album, “Sidelong,” with Bloodshot Records in early 2017. Shook described writing music as drawing on a “whole lotta hurt, whole lotta fight left, too.”
“I want folks to feel a part of something real, to know that they’re not alone, no matter how lonely and disconnected they might feel,” she said. “We’re all out here struggling, all in it together.”
Though Thacker hosts a free show every Thursday, typically at Off Square Books, this week it is offering a special show at The Lyric in coordination with the 25th annual Oxford Conference for the Book.
The show will also feature best-selling British author Martin Amis, whose recent essay collection “The Rub of Time” covers a wide range of topics including politics, celebrity, sports, America and literature over the past 23 years.
“It’ll be an honor to have Martin Amis on Thursday, but also, to have two super strong up-and-coming female artists in addition to Amis makes this show all the more exciting,” said Kate Teague, executive producer and director of Thacker Mountain. “We really appreciate our Lyric shows, which allows a much larger audience to enjoy Thacker.”
Thacker Mountain will also feature sisters rock group Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe, which has toured with musicians such as Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Kristian Bush of Sugarland and Elvis Costello.
“We started playing music when we were very young, so it’s always been a part of our lives,” Rebecca Lovell said. “In the past decade, we’ve begun writing our own songs – sharing our perspective and story. We hope to convey honesty through music. Music brings people together like nothing else.”
Megan Lovell said forming the band just happened organically because they were sisters.
“We’ve been playing together basically since we were babies, so starting Larkin Poe was a natural progression from jamming in the living room,” she said.
Their soulful, edgy music mixes rock with Southern blues, with a similar flare to that of Brandi Carlile.
“I’m inspired by visual combinations of words,” said Rebecca. “Typically, when writing lyrics, I look for the words that fit together in cool ways and create crazy pictures that roll off the tongue. Songwriting is a lot like therapy, as well. So, oftentimes, I find myself expelling my demons through music.”
The Lovell sisters have their roots in Atlanta and are actually the descendants of tortured artist and writer Edgar Allan Poe. They recently released their latest rock/blues album “Peach” in September 2017.
“People have been overwhelmingly responsive to ‘Peach.’ We’re truly humbled by the support,” Rebecca said. “We’ve got extensive touring on the books, as well, and are excited to have so many fans showing up for us. It’s a great year for Larkin Poe.”
Thacker Mountain Radio Hour opens doors to the public at 5:15 p.m. and will broadcast live on 92.1 Rebel Radio.
This article was submitted to The Daily Mississippian from an advanced reporting class.