Is there such a thing as distinctly Canadian music? If so, the Sadies would be among its foremost purveyors. One thing’s for sure: This eclectic band has no intention of carpetbagging in the States. The double-disc In Concert Vol. One has a conspicuously Canadian flavor. Recorded during a two-night stand in February 2006 at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, the collection offers a wide-angle view of the band, replete with special guests and a range of cover songs.
Few other outfits would have the nerve (or, for that matter, the talent) to cover the Louvin Brothers, Roger Miller, Bob Wills, the Mekons, The Band, Flat Duo Jets, and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd in the course of a single evening. On hand to represent the Great White North are The Band’s Garth Hudson, members of Blue Rodeo and the Deadly Snakes, and the extended Good family (parents and uncles of Sadies frontmen Dallas and Travis Good). Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, Jon Spencer, and the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris spearhead the American contingent, while Jon Langford represents England.
Travis Good is joined by Case on vocals and Hudson on accordion for a spirited reading of The Band’s “Evangeline”. Hudson joins in on keys for a romp through “Leave Me Alone”, an obscure rockabilly rave-up recorded in 1964 by the Canadian Squires, an early configuration of The Band. Case (a onetime Canadian resident) also sings her own “Hold On, Hold On” and nails a pair of lesser-known Roger Miller gems, “Home” and “Jason Fleming”. Louris contributes the Jayhawks’ “Tailspin” and helps attack Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam”.
Of course, the Sadies’ own impressive blend of sparkling surf-rock, crisp country picking, and dreamy psychedelic folk is also well-represented. Rugged, multidimensional, and full of vivid scenery, the Sadies’ music is state-of-the-art Canadiana, and their countrymen ought to be proud.