In the spirit of folk music, Sara Trunzo's stunning new album Dirigo Attitude (out on May 3) was made with community in mind. Much of the record was inspired by Unity, Maine, where Trunzo went to school and has spent most of her adult life. The album's title is even derived from Maine's state motto, "Dirigo," which means "I lead" in Latin.
"Food and Medicine," featuring songwriting legend Darrell Scott ("Long Time Gone," "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive"), is a striking song about a mother just trying to survive on minimum wage while dealing with the judgement and prejudices of others. It's as honest and tender as it is tough-minded.
"Nobody tells rich men what to do with their millions, got a bunch of ideas for my $7.50," Trunzo sings. "Check on the stars and smoke one cigarette after I put her to bed/ Don't worry I did not buy them on my EBT."
The steadfast "In the Bend of the Cumberland," featuring Grammy-nominated Americana singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, finds comfort in independence, resilience and the Appalachian landscape.
The 11-track album comes full circle with "I Believe in Unity," which features a choir of singers from Unity, Maine.
"I believe in rural people/ I believe in community/I believe the stars shine brightest when it's coldest and the leaves are off the trees," Trunzo sings. "I believe we ain't that different/ I believe we are each unique/ I believe that God ain't out to get us/
I believe in unity"
Trunzo says she hopes the album evokes the same sense of community and collaboration she felt while creating it.
"I'm grateful to be offering up a record that is filled with old friends from Maine, great artists from Nashville and Kentucky, stories of place and persistence, and intentional production choices. I hope that our focus on process results in listeners feeling the warmth, collaboration, and sense of ceremony we had in making it," Trunzo tells Wide Open Country. "Three years ago this time I was watering seedlings, hiring interns, and balancing a budget on a vegetable farm in Maine. So I'm humbled -- and find it a little surreal -- that two of my songwriting heroes added their voices to my songs. Mary Gauthier has been a fine role model for truth-telling, transformation, and healing. Darrell Scott changed the very course of my life with his songs, teaching and presence. I'm not sure what if anything these songs will do out in the world -- but I'm eager to see what unfolds."
Listen to Dirigo Attitude below.
Dirigo Attitude was produced by Erick Jaskowiak. The album is the follow-up to Trunzo's 2017 debut EP Thanks Birdie.