About

Queer country trailblazers Karen & the Sorrows have been featured in Billboard, WNYC’s The Takeaway, and Rolling Stone, who described them as “Dolly Parton fronting Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.” Noisey called the band “exactly what country music needs right now.” 

With the Sorrows’ third album, Guaranteed Broken Heart, singer-songwriter Karen Pittelman has struck off in new directions. The songs still feature her high, lilting vocals, dark country-rock twang, and powerful lyrics. But she also dove more deeply into the ‘90s country she loves, tapping into that era’s studio shimmer and polish. And in addition to electric arrangements featuring pedal steel, Wurlitzer, and brooding guitars, she called on some of her favorite local bluegrass musicians to add dobro, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle to many of the songs. The result is an album that draws on country’s varied roots to tell a high-lonesome, heartbreak story about grief and desire, and that No Depression called, “the best straight-ahead country album I’ve heard in quite some time.”

For the last nine years, The Sorrows have also been at the heart of a growing queer country community, running the Gay Ole Opry Festival and the Queer Country Quarterly, and creating space for people who love country music even if country music doesn’t always love them back.

Pittelman formed the Brooklyn-based Sorrows in 2011 together with guitarist Elana Redfield and drummer Tami Johnson. In 2012, they released the EP Ocean Born Mary about a ghost story from Redfield’s New Hampshire hometown. In 2014, they put out their first full-length record, The Names of Things, which was voted one of the Freeform American Roots Chart’s best debut albums of 2014. On their 2017 sophomore record, The Narrow Place, The Sorrows continued building their heartbreak catalog with songs that were both unexpected and entirely country, from a queer reimagining of the bro-country pickup truck ode to a Jewish family story about immigration and race.

After parting ways with bandmates Redfield and Johnson in 2018, Pittelman began work on Guaranteed Broken Heart. She called on friends and frequent collaborators to form her core electric band, including engineer Charles Burst, who stepped into the additional role of drummer for this album, guitarist Barbara Endes from fellow country-rock band Girls on Grass, Larry Cook on bass, and Gerard Kouwenhoven on harmonies. She also reached out to members of Brooklyn’s strong bluegrass and old time scene to put together an all-star line-up, including Rima Fand on fiddle, Ross Martin on guitar, and Cole Quest Rotante on dobro. 

About Guaranteed Broken Heart

“Like Gram Parsons, Pittelman peels away the superficiality that much of country music has embraced and looks deep into its soul, its history, and its stories and makes it all her own….You do not want to miss this album.”—No Depression

“Each year, there’s at least one album that stuns me into silence, then moves me to immediately text everyone I know to tell them about it. Karen Pittelman’s latest release did that for me in October.”—Americana Highways

“Buoyed by Pittelman’s dramatic, expressive voice, Guaranteed Broken Heart is rich with the textures of classic twang and writing that will resonate with anyone who needs a little glue to put the pieces of their own ticker back together. “—AV Club

“Truly beautiful songs that take both lyrical and sonic influence from country music’s most shimmering compositions”—The Boot

“Many songs have solemn fiddle intros from the big Nineties ballads, along with the requisite polish, but there’s still plenty of grit from stinging electric guitar and the messiness of heartbreak. In another way, Pittelman captures peak Nineties country with clever lyricism, as on the shame-on-me saga ‘Third Time’s the Charm.'”—Rolling Stone

“Karen & the Sorrows tug on the heartstrings in emotional Guaranteed Broken Heart.”—Billboard

Guaranteed Broken Heart combines heartache and stunning musicianship to give us one of the best albums of the year”—Americana Highways

“With the Americana scene exploding with new bands and voices, Karen & the Sorrows’ certainly are aimed for their own Alabama Shakes breakthrough.”—Glide Magazine

“With all the accouterments of country music, the New York outfit breaks our hearts bar-by-bar, line by line in this song.”—PopMatters

About The Narrow Place

“Exactly what country music needs right now”—Noisey

“Seventies-era folk rock, accented by generous amounts of pedal steel and a steady social conscience. For fans of the idea of Dolly Parton fronting Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.”—10 New Country Artists You Need to Know, Rolling Stone Country

“Pedal steel-driven, rootsy songs that recall Harvest-era Neil Young to explore a variety of unorthodox subjects”
Bandcamp Daily

“A trim record, with the right amount of sputter and splat in Johnson’s drums…gluey, unnervingly effective globs of Redfield’s pedal steel, occasional jolts from a fiddle and handsome female-male harmonies…’Can’t Miss What You Never Had,’ an early highlight, upshifts into a soft, jabbing hook that could have come out in the second half of the 1990s on a Vince Gill record.”
Billboard

“Lonesome, twangy, and infectious”
Yahoo Music

“A twangy tale of lost love, paying homage to classic country with gentle pedal steel and lush vocal harmonies”
American Songwriter

“Haunting pedal steel work and unvarnished heartbreak”
Bust Magazine

“If I could liquify this album and mainline it, I absolutely would. Gorgeous lyrics and soulful vocals.”
Adobe & Teardrops

“Music that touches the heart and soul”
The Daily Country