You know that almost-but-never relationship you had (or have, bless your heart) that kept you coming back for more as it unraveled your sanity (and, in my case, elicited a nine-month stream of subtweets)? So do Brooklyn-based “queer country trailblazers” Karen & the Sorrows, and their single “I Was Just Your Fool” from their upcoming album, The Narrow Place (out August 25th), will have you swaying back and forth in solidarity with that heart-wrenching feeling.
The sound aligns with old-school country but incorporates an alternative undercurrent that boosts the hipness. Drummer Tami Johnson keeps the beat as singer-songwriter Karen Pittelman narrates the heartbreak with a sweetly sad Dolly Parton-esque voice and Elana Redfield backs it up with “lonesome pedal steel guitar.” Don’t know what pedal steel guitar is? Neither did I, but I knew it when I heard it because I felt it’s haunting electricity. (For this album, the group enlisted bassist Gerard Kouwenhoven to accompany their soulful vibes.)
Heartbreak and loss are recurring themes that weave The Sorrows’ new album, The Narrow Place, together. And even if country music isn’t your scene, you’ll be undoubtedly moved by their modern-yet-classic auditory aesthetic and socially-progressive inclusivity with songs ranging from a “queer reimagining of the bro-country pickup truck ode to a Jewish family story about immigration and race.”