Iconic rockers The Sadies have hit the road for an extensive North American trek that includes a Red Deer stop Nov. 6th at The Hideout.
Ever since the quartet, comprised of singer/guitarists Dallas and Travis Good, bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky, first hit the North American scene more than 20 years ago, their music has never been less than awe-inspiring.
These days, they are gearing up for a stretch of shows that takes them down to California including LA and San Fransisco before venturing back up north as winter starts to settle into their native country.
“We start in California and end up in Winnipeg in November, so I’m not really sure how to pack for this one,” laughed Travis during a recent chat.
“Red Deer is actually one of maybe just two shows that we’ve ever had to cancel due to weather. It was at the end of April one year, and we were coming from Calgary. It was a warm Friday, and then on Saturday we just got hammered – they had to shut down the highway,” he recalled. “We ended up in Airdrie because they shut down the highway – people were all sleeping in the lobby of this one hotel. It was nuts!”
But in reflecting on the band’s success and ‘staying’ power over the years, Travis points to how the members have also busied themselves on other artists’ projects from time to time.
That kind of freedom not only fuels their creativity as The Sadies, but it also has made getting back together for recording stints and tours that much more fun.
“We’d take a break but it wasn’t like we had branched off into four different projects. We’d still work together but we could also go and do something different. I think we’d come back to tour after a few months and it would feel pretty fresh again,” he added. “I think that really helped – getting out of the routine.”
Northern Passages, the band’s most recent studio album, made Exclaim!’s Top 10 Folk and Country Albums of 2017.
Recorded in the basement of Dallas’s and Travis’s parents’ home north of Toronto, the familiar surroundings resulted in a consistent feel to Northern Passages, despite the eclecticism at the heart of The Sadies’ sound, noted a release.
“Dallas and I used to practice with our bands in high school down there. Plus, it didn’t put us on a clock really. We just brought in our engineer and some really good gear, and all of our amps and stuff.
“We just spent a little bit more time with it – nitpicking, I guess,” he said. “We could afford to do that at mom and dad’s place.”
From the get-to, the magic of what The Sadies have always woven into each project is there, from the haunting, mesmerizing tones of the disc’s opening cut Riverview Fog, which flows right into the full-throttle edgy sensibilities of Another Season Again.
It’s Easy Like Walking lightens things up a touch with a sleek, pop-oriented feel while Through Strange Eyes has hints of classic country fueling the tune’s momentum.
With the Goods, there’s certainly a legacy of music. Travis and Dallas are the sons of Margaret and Bruce Good, and the nephews of Brian and Larry Good – members of the popular country group The Good Brothers.
“When I was 18 or 19, I joined dad’s band, so I was playing country and bluegrass. I had to take a crash course in it, because although it was in the back of my mind growing up around it, Dallas and I were into punk rock and other stuff,” he said, adding that other major influences during those years were Doc Watson who Travis admired for his ‘flat picking’.
As for the beginnings of The Sadies, Travis explains that Dallas acquired their dad’s dobro about the same time that Dean got his first upright bass.
“They were living together at the time, and they were both very much into punk rock. But it was basically by getting those instruments that they started playing Carl Perkins’ songs with a different drummer.
Travis came in playing fiddle, and up till then he had been with his dad’s band on a full-time basis.
But it wasn’t long before The Sadies pretty much took off, and it’s been full steam ahead since their first disc released in 1994.
For Travis, he noted how a friend once pointed out to him how he can’t seem to walk past a guitar after all these years and just leave it alone.
“He said to me, ‘A carpenter would never check out your tools every time he walks by. And yet you have that bizarre drive.”
And it’s that drive that has always and continues to spark ideas for terrific songs from a truly gifted band.
“I can’t explain it. I’ve always loved it and I’ve always wanted to do it. I think watching my dad do it from an early age made me think that it was attainable, and I’ve been chasing that dream ever since.”