It’s been 18 years since Trinity Sarratt (aka Trixie Trainwreck) abandoned the United States.
The rationale for the jump being, “I needed to go somewhere to figure out this life and a good friend told me I’d like it. He was right.” Her decision to plant roots in Berlin was hers and hers alone, and at an age where most young adults are only figuring out what to do with their lives. Since the abrupt move, her affairs include sustaining her family as an international touring artist, and helping with one of Berlin’s eccentric music venues, Bassy Club (at time of publishing, Bassy Cowboy Club is set to close at end of April, 2018). These days, her songwriting is geared towards the outliers of the roots music world and is both honest and forthright, something you can feel in the patterns that round out her Voodoo Rhythm Records debut, 3 Cheers to Nothing.
The new LP appeals to the realities of the working class and its paralleling adversities like frustration, heartache, and hard times, but delivered with an attitude that exemplifies grace, tenacity, and humility. 3 Cheers to Nothing’s development dates back as early as 2012, when Sarratt had a slew of songs in the works around the time she released her first single under the moniker Trixie Trainwreck No Man Band entitled, “Hard Working Girl.” Following up her single with the blue-collar honky tonk and folk-laced Bound to Ramble LP, she expands her foundations on 3 Cheers to Nothing by incorporating R&B elements. Her backing group, The Trainwrecks, play a big part of the development of this record, not to mention her achievement of reaching a new plateau. Safe to say, that working with a cast who has done time working in groups like The Selector, Holly Golightly, Hipbone Slim, and Thee Headcoats helps some, right?
On the surface, this LP comes across as a hard-luck girl recollection, but Sarratt delivers with a demeanor more in the line of a Rosie the Riveter type. We’re all human, though, and go through ups and downs throughout life; Sarratt hints at disclosures of her own throughout the 13 tracks. “Daddy’s Gone”, initially released on Bound to Ramble is re-worked with full presence production and dynamic slide and harmonica work by Paul Seacroft (The Selector, Bad Manners) and Charlie Hangdog (Holly Golightly), respectively. “No Good Town” is a downtrodden, steady beat blues-country ballad number Sarratt wrote in response to the feelings of loneliness and estrangement she experienced when returning to San Francisco on a tour with her other group, Kamikaze Queens. Something she describes as “akin to feeling like a stranger in your own hometown.”
Sample the new album with the “No Good Town” video.
Reoccurring themes of migration and moving along appear often in the songwriting with Sarratt’s symbolism of the subject a way to “keep yourself evolving, traveling, moving along, and living in the moment.” A reasoning she lives by and reminds herself with a particular lyric in the title track (“Did I tell you I met my ghost at the bus stop, Still dancing to that old dusty tune, Well I got on that bus, and I bid her farewell, on that weary dark afternoon”) coming from a time during the first recording sessions of 3 Cheers To Nothing in London when Sarratt ended up standing at a bus stop across from the pub where she lost her passport 18 years prior and interpreted the scenario as coming full circle.
“Poor & Broke” has a vintage R&B vibe and speaks like an anthem in these current times for anyone relating to the lyrics (“Well the rich keep getting richer and the poor stay broke / Now the sick are getting sicker and the tired don’t wake up”). The lively “Goddamn USA” is a blue-collar, country-folk stomper about the touring grind here in the USA with some shout-outs to old haunts she’s traveled through in her past tours. Along with other originals, she pays tribute to pioneers Loretta Lynn with a Trainwrecks adaptation of “Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven” and a contemporary honky tonk adaptation of the Hank Williams lonely prisoner POV ballad “Lonesome Whistle.”
18 years in the making and a reflective piece along with a glimpse of her life since then. 3 Cheers to Nothing marks an evolution in Sarratt’s songwriting and an introduction to a well-curated crew of collaborators in her life.
3 Cheers to Nothing Track Listing:
01. Daddy’s Gone
02. God Damn Angels
03. Poor & Broke
04. No Good Town
05. 3 Cheers to Nothing
06. God Damn USA
07. Commuter Baby
08. End of Nowhere
09. Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
10. Yodelin’ Bayonne Blues
11. I’m Leavin’
12. Lonesome Whistle
13. This Train