The Sadies leave it open to interpretation
Speculate all you want, but Sadies singer-guitarist Dallas Good isn’t going to tie his band’s latest record to any one particular theory. Internal Sounds begins with what sounds like a betrayal and ends with a beguiling song of peaceful reconciliation, but it’s not necessarily that explicit a journey.
Or is it?
“I like leaving things open to interpretation, and that metaphorical interpretation is wonderful,” says Good, checking in by cellphone en route from Winnipeg to Saskatoon. “Of course, I wouldn’t set out to make a record that’s complete from beginning to end, that followed a story line or any circular feel. But having said that, I’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, so I do live in a circular motion.
“I suppose that our last album [2010’s Darker Circles] was intended to be more of a circular affair, where we closed the album with a 10-song medley of the 10 songs preceding it,” he adds. “I hadn’t given it that much thought this time, but maybe it’s becoming my way. Hey, it’s better than making a square album!”
One wouldn’t think that the Sadies, whose surf ’n’ twang approach has always been electrified by more than a little psychedelic swagger, would be capable of making a square album. But in one sense they did: last year’s The Good Family Album found Dallas and brother Travis exploring the kind of repertoire that made their father’s band, the Good Brothers, a Cancon country-radio staple during the 1970s. It’s a warm-hearted hoedown that’s not without corny elements, and making it allowed the younger Goods to step away from B-benders and banjos on Internal Sounds.
“In a way it certainly exorcized some of our country-and-western demons,” Good says. “If anything, it just kind of steered us away from that particular direction on this album. That tends to happen from time to time—which is good, because country-and-western music all sounds the same anyway.”
Another influence on the new disc was an unhappy accident, that being the broken leg Good suffered at the start of the Sadies’ tour to promote Darker Circles. The healing alluded to in several of the new songs might have more to do with the guitarist’s fractured femur than anyone’s broken heart, while the album’s cover features Good’s hospital X-rays, only in Day-Glo form. At the time, the accident was as catastrophic for the band as it was for Good himself, squelching as it did the success of what should have been the Sadies’ breakout effort. In the long run, though, it allowed the band to take its time on the follow-up, which in turn led Good to assume the producer’s mantle. The layoff also gave him leisure enough to talk the album’s only guest star, Buffy Sainte-Marie, into adding her distinctive voice and mouth-bow to the concluding track, “We Are Circling”.
“Basically, she’s involved because she’s a really good sport,” says Good with a laugh. “There’s not much more to it than that, aside from that I pestered her nonstop, and it was easier for her to say yes than to say no. I just would not go away.”
That persistence paid off in a track that’s one of the most deliciously different things you’ll hear all year—and an album that very much matches it. Still, when it comes to the Sadies’ current tour, let’s not say “Break a leg!”