Saturday, February 24, 2018

Northern Passages: The Sadies Radio Special, Travis Good Interview & Show # 710

The Sadies are described as a Canadian rock/country and western band. Coming from Toronto, Canada, the band is comprised of brothers Dallas and Travis Good, Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky. Dallas and Travis come from a country music family. They are the sons of Margaret and Bruce Good, as well as the nephews of Brian and Larry Good who are members of the Canadian country band, The Good Brothers. Forming in 1994, The Sadies developed their own take on country and western music, incorporating elements of surf and garage rock with a punk infused energy. Their first album was released in 1998, and was entitled Precious Moments. Songs on the album Precious Moments featured a large amount of instrumental tracks, combined with songs with vocals, but all the elements of The Sadies are there. Songs such as “Glass of Wine”, features an almost R&B garage sound, “Little Sadie” is their take on the traditional song of the same name, giving it a psychedelic folk spin, “Cowhand” is a slow creeping folk song with fiddle and guest vocals by Neko Case and “Barbarosa” is a bombastic garage track. This combined with their instrumental surf tracks such as “Cheat”, the Eninio Morricone styled “Dying Is Easy”, “Snow Squadron” and “Rapid Monkey”, all add to the landscape they first painted in 1998. The album was recorded by Steve Albini, along with several other early albums in the band’s catalog (Pure Diamond Gold (1999), In Concert Vol.1 (2006)).

As The Sadies albums progressed so did their sound. Known for their live shows, their undeniable chemistry is something that is always present on their recordings, but as their albums and sound progressed, so did their songwriting. It still is for that matter. 2002’s Stories Often Told, fleshed out their sound to include more psychedelic, folk, bluegrass, country and blues elements. This is apparent on songs such as “The Story’s Often Told”, “A Steep Climb" and “Within A Stone”. 2004’s Favourite Colours upped the ante, balancing their sound while also featuring collaborations with Rick White (of Eric’s Trip), and Robyn Hitchcock. In 2007 their album New Seasons earned a Polaris Prize nomination. New Seasons featured a focus on the slower side of the band’s country/folk influences. The harmonies and songwriting strengthened even further on this album, which was co-produced by The Jayhawks Gary Louris with The Sadies. Songs such as “Anna Leigh”, “What’s Left Behind”, and “The Trial”, displayed a haunting sense of atmosphere.

2010’s Darker Circles was nominated for a Polaris Prize as well. It was produced once again by Jawhawk guitarist Gary Louris with The Sadies and is often seen as a companion album to New Seasons. However, this album took on more layers within the music and lyrics. The lyrics have been said to be darker than usual on this album. The Sadies have always had darker elements in their sound and lyrics, but this album took it to a new level. Darker Circles is nuanced, with something always seeming to rumble beneath the surface. Songs such as “Another Year Again”, and “Cut Corners” are psychedelic-garage tinged tracks, while songs such as “Tell Her What I Said” combine psychedelia and country, “Postcards” takes on a Byrds influence, “Idle Tomorrows”, and “Choosing To Fly” drift into country and bluegrass territories. In addition to releasing numerous albums, The Sadies have also collaborated, performed and recorded with other musicians such as Andre Williams, Neko Case, Blue Rodeo, Garth Hudson, John Doe, Neil Young and Gord Downie. This is in addition to being involved with other bands such as The Unintended, Heavy Trash, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet and other groups.

In 2017, The Sadies released Northern Passages, their 10th full-length album. Recorded in the Good parents' basement and produced by Dallas Good, Northern Passages mixes up a complex pairing of thoughts and reflectiveness, while at the same time displaying a sense of hopefulness. With an overall sound that can be described as an “acid-folk-country-punk trip”, Northern Passages finds The Sadies navigating through familiar and new territories, building on their sound and atmosphere. Whether it is with the string of collaborations, their own albums or their live shows, The Sadies are always approaching their music from different directions. Since their beginnings they have always found their own path and still continue to do so.

Check out my interview with Sadies member Travis Good here:

The Sadies Play List:

1. The Sadies - Cheat (Live) (In Concert Vol. 1 - 2006)
2. The Sadies - Little Sadie (Precious Moments - 1998)
3. Jon Langford & His Sadies - Strange Birds (Mayors of the Moon - 2002)
4. The Sadies - What's Left Behind (New Seasons - 2007)
5. The Sadies - Postcards (Darker Circles - 2010)
6. The Sadies - Translucent Sparrow (Favourite Colours - 2004)
7. The Sadies - The Story's Often Told (Stories Often Told - 2002)
8. The Sadies - Questions I've Never Asked (Northern Passages - 2017)
9. The Sadies - Dying Ain't No Way To Make A Living (Dying Ain't No Way To Make A Living - 1996)
10. The Unintended - The Collaspse (The Unintended - 2004)
11. Andre Williams & The Sadies - She's a Bag of Potato Chips (Red Dirt - 1999)
12. The Sadies - There's a Higher Power (Pure Diamond Gold - 1999)
13. The Sadies - Reward of Gold (Pure Diamond Gold - 1999)
14. The Sadies - The 400 (Tales of the Rat Fink - 2006)
15. The Sadies - Flash (Tremendous Efforts - 2001)
16. The Sadies - Wasn't Born To Follow (Tremendous Efforts - 2001)
17. John Doe & The Sadies - The Cold Hard Facts of Life (Country Club - 2009)
18. Neko Case - Hold On, Hold On (Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - 2006)


19. The Sadies - Leave Me Alone (Live) (In Concert Vol. 1 - 2006)
20. Garth Hudson Ft. Neil Young & The Sadies - This Wheel's On Fire (Garth Hudson Presents A Canadian Celebration of The Band - 2010)
21. Gord Downie & The Sadies - The Conquering Sun (And The Conquering Sun - 2014)
22. The Sadies - Leave This World Behind (Internal Sounds - 2013)
23. The Good Family - Taller Than The Pines (The Good Family Album - 2015)
24. The Sadies Ft. Kurt Vile - It's Easy (Like Walking) (Northern Passages - 2017)
25. The Sadies - Anna Leigh (New Seasons - 2007)
26. The Sadies - Locust Eater (Demo) (Archives Vol 1 (Rarities, Oddities and Radio: 1995-2015) - 2015)
27. The Sadies - Lay Down your Arms (Stories Often Told - 2002)
28. The Sadies - Cut Corners (Darker Circles - 2010)

Download/listen to this program here.

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