Sarah Shook is like a punk rock Waylon Jennings, with the Disarmers filling in for the Waymores. That can’t be a bad thing for a singer and songwriter with the grit to sing “The Bottle Never Lets Me Down,” “What It Takes” and “Heartache in Hell” like a road-worn veteran. It should be no surprise, then, that “New Ways to Fail,” a track off her new album Years, pairs well with a music video about skateboarding.
As Shook joked to Fader, it’s probably the first country music or Americana video ever filmed at a skate park. The story begins with a young woman reacting to an apparent breakup with a skater dude. She ends up channeling her anger into a awesome girl gang, akin to the legendary Skate Witches. New friendships, fresh air and some D.I.Y. ingenuity turn a once gloomy day into a summertime adventure. The video was shot on the streets of Chicago, but it could’ve unfolded in any big city between New York and Los Angeles.
It’s a video about not taking other people’s crap and rising above their low expectations — an ideal story to tell alongside one of Shook’s street-smart, hard-nosed country songs.
Shook gained buzz last year when Bloodshot Records reissued her self-released debut album Sidelong. Since then, the North Carolina native has built off that momentum with a constant slate of tour dates and a new record that’s been lauded by critics as one of the best albums so far in 2018. Each new step of her career draws more attention to the bright future of an artist more concerned about speaking her mind than fitting the Nashville mold.
As usual, she’s on the road right now, playing West Coast dates that lead back South for the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival, held Sept. 22-23 in Franklin, Tenn.