All too fittingly, Dallas Good is busy when he picks up the phone at his home just outside of Toronto. There’s the job of taking two recording sessions the Sadies have done with scuzz-blues legend Andre Williams, and combining them into a cohesive whole.
“During one of the sessions he [Williams] was completely drunk,” Good relates. “The second one is marking nearly a year of sobriety, so it’s completely night and day. My day job right now has been mixing it, and it has been a bit of nightmare.”
There’s also an ongoing collaboration with Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie.
“We’ve been chipping away at it ever since we toured with the Tragically Hip [in 2007],” Good reports. “Now we’re two-thirds in, so it’s actually become a reality that I can mention out loud, as opposed to just alluding to.”
And there’s work to be done on the next Sadies album, the follow-up to 2007’s Juno–nominated New Seasons. The disc will once again find Good, his singer-guitarist brother Travis, bassist Sean Dean, and drummer Mike Belitsky reteaming with former Jayhawks singer and producer Gary Louris.
On this day, though, Good is focused on two things when the Straight calls. The first is, almost unbelievably, not music-related. “I’m making a lamp,” he says. “It’s for my mother, a belated birthday present.”
The second task—doing press for Country Club, an about-to-be-released collaboration with former X bassist and sometimes Knitter John Doe—is very much about the music, specifically shit-kicker classics mixed with three originals from the Sadies and one tune written by Doe. The results are uniformly gorgeous, from the 2 a.m.–in-an-empty-bar vibe of the Tammy Wynette killer “Till I Get It Right” to the backwoods hootenanny that is Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone”. Whether the Goods are putting on a golden-greats guitar clinic in the Ray Price hit “Night Life”, or the entire posse is riding hell-bent for leather with the Porter Wagoner rave-up “The Cold Hard Facts of Life”, Country Club plays out like an early Top 10 of 2009 contender.
“It’s important for me to stress that, as popular and common as some of the songs may be, they are very important to John,” Good explains. “These are country songs that maybe hit him over the head in the ’70s or who knows when—you’d have to talk to him about that. The list is of songs that are very important to him, and artists that are very important to us.”
Never interested in staring at the rear-view mirror, the Sadies are already looking beyond Country Club. Once Good is finished with the business of lamp-building, the band hits the road for a series of dates that includes a Cultural Olympiad stand in Vancouver, followed by a West Coast tour with Black Mountain. Don’t dare suggest, though, that the singer and his bandmates are somehow pushing themselves too hard.
“Fortunately, we’re able to stay busy around the year, even if we don’t have a current Sadies release,” Good says. “We don’t take time off, because there’s no real need to do that. Nobody else gets time off, so why should musicians?”
The Sadies play the Biltmore Cabaret on Friday and Saturday (March 13 and 14).