It’s my pleasure to write a few words in support of the latest album from Zoe Muth (this time credited sans The Lost High Rollers) that’s just being released on Signature Sounds, World of Strangers is Zoe’s third full length release and follows the wonderful Starlight Hotel which was a big hit here at Beat Surrender back in 2011 and featured high my favourite albums of that year and indeed remains one of my favourite ‘country’ albums of the last decade, this time around “Seattle’s Emmylou” uprooted herself and travelled down to Austin to affect and distil her songs in a new environment, “Many of these new songs had been in my head for a long time, and I needed a change of scenery and sound to let them find their way out”.
In Austin Zoe was introduced to producer and bassist George Reiff in who helped put together the team for the studio – in addition to Lost High Rollers guitarist Eric Hisaw and drummer Greg Niles, who’s also Zoe’s husband, she’s joined by Brad Rice (Keith Urban, Son Volt) on electric guitars, Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks) on violin and viola, Sweney Tidbull on keyboards with both Bruce Robison and Brandy Zdan adding guest vocals too, the ten-track release includes nine original written by Zoe and a great cover of Ronnie Lane’s April Fool.
Previously on Beat Surrender I described Zoe’s wonderful vocal as “just perfect, sad, sincere, achingly beautiful” which fits hand-in-glove with the themes and narrative of her writing, this album is alternative country in the sense that it offers up an alternative and truer vision to that which continues to be churned out of the Nashville music machine and Zoe’s take on what modern country music can be is a perfect example of just what it can be when created with a vision and understanding of the genre and alongside Sturgill Simpson is the best country album I’ve listened too in the last year – if only all country music was made this way – cosmic country soul and essential listening.
Zoe is in the UK later in the year for a numbers of dates and there are currently a few free days to fill – venues please take note and get in touch with the UK booking agent here.
Tues Oct 21: The Old Queen’s Head, London
Wed Oct 22: The Market Theatre, Ledbury
Thurs Oct 23: The Prince Albert, Brighton
Fri 24: Oct The Wightman Hall, Shrewsbury
Sat Oct 25: Bristol (venue tbc)
Sun Oct 26: Cluny 2, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Mon Oct 27: FREE
Tues Oct 28: Kilbarchan (venue tbc)
Wed Oct 29: Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Fri Oct 31: Glasgow Americana Festival
Sat Nov 1: Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
Sun Nov 2: Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine
Wed Nov 5: The Forge, Anvil Arts, Basingstoke
Following his excellent UK TV debut on Later With Jools Holland, Sturgill Simpson has announced details of July UK dates including Glastonbury in support of his acclaimed and thoroughly wonderful Metamodern Sounds In Country Music.
29 June – GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL, Acoustic Stage
24 July – LONDON, Bush Hall
25 July – SHEFFIELD, Greystones
26 July – PERTH, Southern Fried Festival
Listen to Sturgill in session with Bob Harris
Buy Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
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Later can be a bit hit or miss these days, though given there’s not much else besides it on the BBC it remains an important programme for artists and there’s none more deserving of a wider audience than Sturgill Simpson, so let’s be hoping that Joe Public can drop their pre-conceived ideas about country music and open their eyes and ears to the Metamodern Sounds in Country Music , the album is out on May 12th in the UK and you can pick up a copy from the fine folks at Loose.
Other guests on next week’s edition of the show include The Horrors, The Afghan Whigs, Little Dragon and Aloe Blacc.