By Keith Sharp
As The Sadies link up with bosom buddies Blue Rodeo to support their 1000 Arms tour with two dates February 2nd and 3rd at Toronto’s Massey Hall, guitarist/vocalist chief songwriter Dallas Good held court at the famed Horseshoe Tavern to discuss the tour and the release of their latest opus titled `Northern Passages’.
Aware that the Horseshoe location had played a major role in the career of both Blue Rodeo and The Sadies, The Good brothers; Dallas and Travis, bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky have been cultivating a solid musical foundation spanning back over 20 years.
“Blue Rodeo were so supportive of us at the beginning, we did so many shows with them back in the day,” enthused Good. “Conflicting schedules have prevented us from touring with them until now but we are looking forward to this tour. We’ll do a short set and get drunk every night,” he laughs.
Sons of Brian Good, and nephews of Bruce and Larry Good, who enjoyed an illustrious career as Country band, The Good Brothers, it would be expected that the Good offspring would pursue a similar musical direction. But as Dallas says himself, to accurately describe the Sadies sound is a challenge few can respond to. “We wear our influences on our sleeve. there are very few bands we are connected to musically, I can’t name any band that sounds similar to us or that we are influenced by.”
Like Blue Rodeo and The Tragically Hip, the Sadies virtually defy categorization, Alt Country, Roots Rock, Insurgent Country, all of the above, none of the above. Good is serious when he says the band’s musical style and vision is unique. What is even more impressive is that The Sadies’ chameleon abilities have allowed them to collaborate with an all-star assembly of talent including Neil Young, Randy Bachman, The Band’s Garth Hudson, The Hip’s Gord Downie, Neko Case, Robyn Hitchcock, Andre Williams, John Doe, The Mekons’ Jon Langford and even their father’s Good Brothers outfit.
“Over the years, working with incredible artists has given us a chance to refine different styles which would have been lost without their guidence,” Good noted. “When we come to record our own records, our direction is positively affected by the artists we have been working with.
In tackling the band’s latest Northern Passages release, the band assembled at Dallas and Travis’s parents studio north of Toronto. “We had one track “The Elements Song” which was a left-over song from our last `Internal Sounds’ release and kind of embodies a segue into the new album. We did the same thing with the first track of Internal Sounds which was left over from `Darker Circles’ “I usually go into the studio with bits and pieces of ideas but once I focus on a project, it usually comes together quite quickly.”
The band has already released three singles off the new opus, the folky “Riverview Fog”, “It’s Easy (Like Walking) with guest lead vocals from Kurt Vile and their latest “Another Season Again” and continues a challenging direction of alt rock, melodic pop and even an extended instrumental track; “The Noise Museum”.
Citing the contribution of Vile on lead vocals, Good says it’s a Sadies’ trademark to have a guest vocalist on their records. “We had Buffy Ste-Marie contribute on Internal Sounds, heaven knows how we talked her into doing it.”
In summarizing the band’s on-going evolution, Good notes The Sadies’ have maintained their fan support by not compromising on their style to reflect on-going fads and trends. “I make no excuses for our music,” he notes. “If our fans like it, they like it, and if they don’t, I can can live with that. I am not going to have a 20 year career defined by one record.”
It is significant that in 2014, the Sadies collaborated with Hip lead vocalist Gord Downie on a project titled The Sadies And The Conquering Sun (with Gord Downie). Downie, who has been stricked with terminal brain cancer, worked on the project with various members of the band over a period of seven years. “Gord is an amazing singer and composer, he has the ability to embrace a very skeletal song and create something special,”
Good has fond memories of many tours the Sadies have undertaken with The Hip, and is obviously choked up about Downie’s current health problems. “We have toured all over the country with The Hip, North, South, East and West, only Sam Roberts has toured with them more than us. The Hip were our big brothers, they prevented us from getting bullied.”
The band heads on a Canadian Ontario and East Coast tour supporting Blue Rodeo kicking off in Toronto on February 2, 2017.
See below for all upcoming tour dates. THE SADIES TOUR DATES 2017
Feb 02 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall*
Feb 08 – Montreal, QC – Place des Arts*
Feb 09 – Kingston, ON – Rogers K-Rock Centre*
Feb 10 – Barrie, ON – Barrie Molson Centre*
Feb 11 – Oshawa, ON – GM Centre*
Feb 14 – London, ON – Budweiser Gardens*
Feb 16 – Hamilton, ON – Hamilton Place*
Feb 17 – Hamilton, ON – Hamilton Place*
Feb 18 – Ottawa, ON – National Arts Centre (Southam Hall)*
Feb 19 – Ottawa, ON – National Arts Centre (Southam Hall)*
Feb 21 – Woodstock, NB – AYR Motor Centre*
Feb 23 – St. John’s, NL – Mile One Centre*
Feb 25 – Halifax, NS – Scotiabank Centre*
Feb 26 – Moncton, NB – The Molson CDN Centre at Casino NB*
Feb 28 – Kitchener, ON – Centre In The Square*
*supporting Blue Rodeo
NORTHERN PASSAGES TRACK LIST
01. Riverview Fog
02. Another Season Again
03. There Are No Words
04. It’s Easy (Like Walking) (feat. Kurt Vile)
05. The Elements Song
06. Through Strange Eyes
07. God Bless The Infidels
08. The Good Years
09. As Above, So Below
10. Questions I Never Asked
11. The Noise Museum