Every city has a zone like Seattle‘s SoDo: it’s marked by vagabond camps in the underpasses, hardscrabble streets, and the ruin and rubble of industry. Ours is trapped between the freeway, an airfield, and the Duwamish river. Lately the neighborhoods down there, like Georgetown, have enjoyed a resurgence of artistic wealth without the typical gentrification required to meet skyrocketing monthly mortgages and rents closer to downtown. Many people won’t go there. To some it’s a place to work. Others are there to live cheap, hide, or die. In other words: it’s a great place to catch a show on a Tuesday night.
Zoe Muth‘s latest album World of Strangers is about the folks that make these kinds of places home. The ones standing outside the city, looking up from broken sidewalks and wondering just how life got like this. The artists, the entrepreneurs, the lost, all have the same feeling that the rest of the world is, as Zoe puts it “A little too shiny for me.”
Fitting then, that Zoe‘s next Seattle show is at Slim’s Last Chance Saloon –a chili shack decorated in corrugated aluminum and neon signs– in Georgetown. There’s no suits down there, they’re more known for chicks with ink, and stiff drinks; their clientele is the kind who’ll get the message loud and clear when Zoe sings “Mama Needs A Margarita,” a dulcet, sullen song, like a lullaby to a newborn that a weary mother might write remembering a more carefree life. Zoe’s album caught the ear of more sophisticated listeners this year with folk tunes like “Annabelle,” and “April Fool,” that helped her pop sensibility start to shine through. But I’m into it for songs like “Somebody I Know,” a conversational piece that illustrates perfectly how Zoe plants sharp turns of phrase in her lyrics, and –just when you think her words couldn’t hurt you worse– she twists ’em like a knife.
…if I have to wander through the lightning and the thunder must I always go alone? I been gettin by on the bottom line, can’t get up or over, but it ain’t for lack of trying. Makin’ trouble out of nothin’, but no one wants to hear about that…
Zoe Muth made quite a name for herself in Seattle, but has since moved to Austin. It’s funny when people ask her why, because she tells the story in her music all the time. When you live in a World Full Of Strangers, after a while you realize there’s no one to stop you from moving down the line.
Muth and her band are working their way through the rest of a national tour, which includes a stop at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, before embarking on a tour of the UK. Zoe Muth plays Slim’s Last Chance Saloon on Tuesday September 2nd. Joy Mills Band opens, with their own brand of attitudinal country.
Advance tickets here.