Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: The Sadies

On the horn from his native Toronto, Sadies vocalist-guitarist-keyboardist Dallas Good sounds as courtly and old-world as any immaculately suited and Stetsoned gentleman picker doing time in Boys bands that go by the name of Blue Grass or Foggy Mountain. But make no mistake: Good’s combo is all about the here and now, as evidenced by its new full-length, New Seasons (Yep Roc), which nods to the fleet-fingered hillbilly hotshots of yesteryear ("What’s Left Behind") as well as ’60s-era native sons like the Dillards and the Byrds ("Yours to Discover") and roots de- and reconstructionists like guest Howe Gelb and producer Gary Louris ("Wolf Tones"). And then there’s the musician’s personal hall of fame. "So far it’s been our experience that we can appeal to audiences of drastically different musical styles," Good says, selecting his words as carefully as he might an instrument.

Everything from Black Flag to George Jones?

"Given that, bar none, those are two of my favorite artists," Good, 33, continues, perking up. "There’s no separation between my love for hardcore and country. The single greatest strength in West Coast music output is not what they did in the ’60s — that trophy would go to Texas, I’m afraid." He chuckles. "I would go with the ’80s and the SST roster. In any case, we don’t feel alienated from that audience, that’s for sure.

"We play as fast as anyone."

And they have as sensitive a touch as the Possum’s, which explains why Neko Case, John Doe, Ronnie Hawkins, and, as with their Oct. 5 show, the Mekons’ Jon Langford have asked the Sadies for backing. Such collaborators as Andre Williams, the Band’s Garth Hudson, and Jon Spencer’s Heavy Trash have also lined up to work with the group.

San Francisco will be the site of a kind of homecoming for Good and his brother, vocalist–guitarist–fiddle player Travis: their father, Bruce, is a member of the Canadian bluegrass ensemble the Good Brothers, who, coincidentally, were flown to the city by the Grateful Dead, friends from their mutual Festival Express outing, to record their 1972 debut for Columbia. "Long-haired bluegrass," Dallas describes it, adding that his father and his mother, Margaret, will join the Sadies onstage, as they did in the studio for New Seasons. "I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree." (Kimberly Chun)


With Jon Langford

Fri/5, 10 p.m., $10

Cafe du Nord

2170 Market, SF


Sun/7, 11:45 a.m., free

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Star Stage


The free festival happens Oct. 5, beginning at 3 p.m., and Oct. 6 to 7, starting at 11 a.m., at Speedway, Lindley, and Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park, SF. For more information on all of the performers and events, go to www.strictlybluegrass.com.