“Sadie Gustafson-Zook has crafted a poetic jewel of an album” – Sarah Fuller Hall, No Depression
SEATTLE (February 11, 2022) – Sadie Gustafson-Zook announces the release of her cottagecore folk album, Sin of Certainty, on April 22. Through delightful musical twists and turns, Gustafson-Zook shows that embracing uncertainty can deliver rays of wonder in unexpected places.
Gustafson-Zook says, “As I have been stumbling my way through my twenties, the idea of the grace of uncertainty has emerged as somewhat of a mantra to me. By holding my own truth lightly enough, I can consider other truths for myself as my life winds in different directions.”
Sin of Certainty unearths a new way of looking at identity, the world around us, and our community. Gustafson-Zook says, “I say ‘Sin’ of certainty because I don’t think that being certain should be something to strive for. Instead, I think we should uplift uncertainty, which can lead to so much growth and possibility.”
The songs on Sin of Certainty unfold the experiences of womanhood and dating within the LGBTQ+ community. The album opens with “Birdsong,” which encompasses feeling unsafe as a woman. Gustafson-Zook says, “One day I was walking to the bus, and I heard someone whistling at me. I looked around, a bit on edge, and then realized that a cardinal had just sung a little song. I found it kind of concerning and poetic that hearing a bird sing immediately made me fearful, so I wrote this song on the bus.”
“Maybe I Don’t Know” gives voice to the uncertainty of searching for a relationship, while “Keep Myself” draws on finding the balance of keeping yourself and keeping the relationship. “Everyone” delves into the reactions after coming out. Gustafson-Zook says, “When I came out, I knew I would most likely deal with some kind of community commentary. Some would be well-intentioned, some would be projection, and a lot of it would purely be imagined by me. I felt an internal tension to keep things the way they always have been and a tension to compare my imagined future with the reality. ‘Everyone’ was a simple and quick tune that came to mind while I sat on my parent’s couch, reckoning with my past and present.”
Gustafson-Zook also reaches outside her comfort zone vocally and instrumentally to a place that feels definitively authentic. She says, “I’ve been so many different kinds of musicians in my life, and often I have felt like the music I’ve made doesn’t represent me well. When I was a child in my parent’s folk band, in high school singing musical theater, in college singing opera, in grad school for jazz scatting away, each felt interesting and exciting, but not reflective of who I am and what I can create. This album feels like a culmination of all of those musical identities, and it also informs my listeners about my life.”
The album produced by Alec Spiegelman (Amanda Palmer, Anais Mitchell, Ana Egge) features a variety of guest artists, including Spiegelman himself on wind ensemble. Michelle Willis (David Crosby, Iggy & The Stooges, Zac Brown Band) plays piano. Zoe Guigueno (Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, Della Mae, Joy Kills Sorrow) is on bass. Sean Trischka (Lula Wiles, Carsie Blanton and Mipso) plays drums. Mairi Chaimbeul, who tours with the Juno-nominated neo-folk group Aerialists and the duo Jenna Moynehan & Mairi Chaimbeul, plays harp, Wurlitzer, and piano. Dandy McDowell is on bass, and Canadian singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield is on drums.
Sin of Certainty Track Listing
- Maybe I Don’t Know
- Go Easy
- Keep Myself
- Lean In More
- Your Love Makes Me Smile
About Sadie Gustafson-Zook
Raised in a liberal Mennonite community in Indiana, Sadie Gustafson-Zook grew up playing music and attending quilt auctions with her folk musician parents. Life in a small town where her mother was a pastor was comfortable and straightforward, and she always felt supported in her music-making. On her new album Sin of Certainty, Gustafson-Zook explores the process of questioning all that she had taken for granted through finding a new community in the roots scene of Boston, studying jazz, and coming out as gay.
Praise For Sadie Gustafson-Zook
“Simply arranged with arpeggiated guitar and a focus on her lovely voice, the song builds to an urgent and poignant climax that radiates both hope and sadness…Channeling her inner Joni Mitchell, Gustafson-Zook’s performance is simply gorgeous.” – Laura Whitmore, Parade
“The stand-out though, is the sprightly fingerpicked folksy ‘Birdsong’, which, with its scatting passage, details how hearing the sound of birds triggers traumatic memories of being sexually harassed by wolf-whistling workers when she was younger, encompassing the feelings women experience all too often.” – folking.com
“Folk artist Sadie Gustafson-Zook’s EP Vol. 1 is a paradox: it’s the specificity of the lyrics that make them relatable. Gustafson-Zook sings with precision about moments in her life, from riding the train in Boston to mistaking a bird’s song for a street harasser, but her reflections on these experiences relate them to broader challenges nearly all of us contend with.” – Suzannah Weiss, Audio Femme