Who: The Sadies
When: Thursday, March 12, 9:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 at the door
It's hard to put The Sadies in a box, really, but their sound definitely isn't pure country. Over their 10-year musical career, the group has managed to successfully blend '60s country rock with psychedelia, C&W, surf, and some punk, just for good measure.
In case you aren't familiar with the Toronto-based group, members are Dallas Good on guitar, keyboards, and vocals; his brother, Travis, on guitar, vocals, and fiddle; Mike Belitsky on drums and Sean Dean on upright bass.
The group released New Seasons , their first studio album in over three years, back in October 2007, featuring The Good Brothers, their father and uncles' country group, and their mother, introducing an old school country element and unique instrumentation of autoharp, banjo and guitar that only their family could offer.
"We're very fortunate, for sure, to be able to work on a level like that with our family, but that aside, it's not completely nepotistic," Dallas said.
Featuring 13 brand-new tracks, New Seasons also signals a refreshed artistic approach for The Sadies.
"The key to making this many records and staying together is being very much open to other people's ideas; whether they're good or bad, they're always worth trying," Dallas said. "Lately, trial and error has been the best for us to try to hash out songs, and that way everyone gets input."
In the past, when they were creatively "shyer," the group members might have transformed someone else's original idea into something entirely different than envisioned, so the final product really belonged to no one.
In the three years between their last two studio albums, the group members definitely weren't taking it easy.
"Since Favourite Colours we've made many, many records, in fact even since New Seasons we've been very, very active."
They've been busy working on collaborative projects, like In Concert , a live double-disc that features a range of artists, like Blue Rodeo and Neko Case, and are now set to release a new country western collaboration project, entitled Country Club , with John Doe in April.
They've also maintained a pretty heavy touring schedule, on the road about 170 days and playing at least 100 shows per year.
In fact, before starting New Seasons , the group had just wrapped up work on over 60 songs for a soundtrack submission and were effectively burnt out on the instrumental front. So the New Seasons project featured fewer instrumentals and more harmonies between the Good brothers, signaling an intentional shift for the group.
A new voice in production, Gary Louris, helped push the group forward, getting them excited about the changes and settling anxious nerves and arguments.
"That gave us the chance to really hash out those ideas in a way that we haven't in the past," Dallas said. "We've always prided ourselves on the strength of our instrumentals, more so than anything else."
The group has been to Whistler many times before, and are set to come back to town this Thursday as part of a tour to promote New Seasons .
"We're just happy to be back in Whistler. It's the first time we'll be playing during the actual snow season," he noted with a laugh.
In their upcoming performances, the musicians will perform a blend of new and old material in a longer set, playing at least 2/3 of the material from New Seasons .