Hmm, think the Sadies love the Byrds? From the Nudie suits that brothers Dallas and Travis Good often wear onstage to their cover of “Wasn’t Born To Follow” on the band’s 2001 album Tremendous Efforts, the Sadies have long styled themselves as Canada’s cosmic cowboys.
Though this obsession continues on Stories Often Told, the band’s fourth disc cribs less from the swirling psychedelia of The Notorious Byrd Brothers than from the hippie-tonk of Sweethearts Of The Rodeo, especially on “Such A Little Word” and the easygoing title cut. This subtle shift in sound isn’t the only change for the Sadies, who left Bloodshot Records for Yep Roc and swapped the services of iconic engineer Steve Albini for the production work of Blue Rodeo co-leader Greg Keelor (who also wrote the title tune).
Yet the more things change, the more they remain the same. A horn section slides in on the end of “Mile Over Mecca”, and “Of Our Land” gets lush and lusher with chiming guitars, keys, vibes, and four-part vocals; but Stories Often Told will still fit comfortably on your shelf between Calexico and Beachwood Sparks. And, it seems, Sadies albums will inevitably pale in comparison to the furious frenzy of their shows: Here only a frantic take on Grace Braun’s “Tiger Tiger” comes close to capturing their onstage energy and anything-goes attitude.