One of the most accomplished bands to emerge from the North American indie and roots rock scene, the Sadies are an eclectic group led by brothers Dallas Good and Travis Good, who've crafted a distinctive sound, absorbing influences from traditional country, surf music, and garage rock, and bending it into something unique with their estimable instrumental skills. Hailing from Toronto, Dallas and Travis came from a musical family; their father Bruce Good and uncles Brian Good and Larry Good were members of the Canadian country-rock band the Good Brothers, while their mother Margaret was a vocalist and music educator. Dallas and Travis played with the Good Brothers for a spell before forming the Sadies in 1994 with Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky, and made their debut album in 1998, Precious Moments, which was recorded by indie icon Steve Albini and featured guest vocals from a then little-known Neko Case. The Sadies dropped two very different albums in 1999 — a second studio effort, Pure Diamond Gold, and a collaboration with renegade R&B singer and songwriter Andre Williams titled Red Dirt. The group's third full-length, Tremendous Efforts, followed in early 2001, teaming them with Albini for the second time. A year later, Stories Often Told marked their first album without Albini, with Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo in the producer's chair.
The Sadies stepped forward to produce themselves on 2003's Favourite Colours; Robyn Hitchcock made a guest appearance, contributing vocals and lyrics on one track. That same year, the Sadies teamed with Jon Langford of the Mekons for the collaborative album Mayors of the Moon, and the band also toured with Neko Case as her backing ensemble; the tour was documented by a live album, 2004's The Tigers Have Spoken. In 2006 the Sadies released their own live album, In Concert, Vol. 1, recorded during a two-night stand at Lee's Palace in Toronto and featuring a wealth of guest stars, from Garth Hudson of the Band to Jon Spencer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. A studio album followed a few months later, Tales of the Rat Fink, which consisted of cues the group had written for a documentary about landmark auto customizer Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. The Sadies released another studio album, New Seasons, in 2007, and in 2009 they joined forces with John Doe of X to cut a set of classic country tunes, Country Club.
The powerful and atmospheric Darker Circles followed in 2010, and was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and in 2012, Garth Hudson invited the Sadies to take part in the sessions for Chest Fever: A Canadian Celebration of the Band, in which they were joined by Hudson and Neil Young to record a version of the Bob Dylan classic "This Wheel's on Fire." Young was impressed enough that he invited the Sadies to open the show for a tour of Canada with Crazy Horse. In 2012, a second album with Andre Williams was released, Night & Day, recorded over a period of several years as Williams struggled with health problems. In 2013, the Sadies looked back to their past with The Good Family Album, a collaboration with the then-current edition of the Good Brothers, while also blazing new trails with Internal Sounds, an ambitious set featuring guest vocals from iconic folksinger Buffy Sainte-Marie. The Sadies released yet another collaborative effort in 2014, a long-simmering project with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip titled Gord Downie, the Sadies, and the Conquering Sun. At the end of 2015, the four-piece retreated to Dallas and Travis' parents' basement in Toronto to record their tenth album. The resulting Northern Passages appeared at the beginning of 2017. ~ Mark Deming