Photo by Moni Belle
Marlon Rabenreither started his musical career in the DIY dream-indie scene with his Sister Ruby Band project and punk outfit CG Roxanne and The Nightmares, but then he heeded some trenchant advice from a musical icon. While opening for Lucinda Williams, the country and blues legend told Rabenreither he was really on to something in his songwriting, and encouraged the former painter to keep at it. Encouraged by her words, he traded in reverb for slide guitar and became Gold Star.
Judging from new single “A Shot in the Dark”, a standalone follow-up to Gold Star’s Dark Days debut, Williams was on to something, too. The track has a ramble like Dawes spliced with The War on Drugs, only blaring out of a dusty speaker somewhere in North Carolina. Though there’s a certain elation in the strut of the drums and the shimmy of the guitars, the creeping organs and ringing slide guitar seem to shroud a devil in their midsts.
“The phrase ‘A Shot In The Dark’ colloquially is really rather inspiring, as it essentially describes a wild attempt at achieving something against great odds,” Rabenreither explains of the song, which he adds came together very quickly. “Though there is almost an implicit optimism in the act, because, ‘Why not take a shot in the dark when you just might hit your mark?’ The song is for someone very dear to me, and it’s basically about throwing oneself completely into a relationship, particularly one that hasn’t worked out in the past.”
Rabenreither switching from dreamy indie and punk to Americana was just such a shot, but it’s one that’s hit its mark beautifully. Take a listen to “A Shot in the Dark” below. You can also catch Gold Star live during his residency at Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles all this month.