The Sadies Rank Their 5 Best Songs
Travis Good on the song that earned him his place in the band, remembering his brother Dallas, and how the Sadies are moving forward
Published Jul 27, 2022This time in the Sadies' careers will forever be marked by unfathomable tragedy after singer-guitarist Dallas Good died in February, but also by the artistic triumph of their latest album Colder Streams, a masterwork that we called "the culmination of a lifetime creating an authentic, uncompromising amalgam of punk, country, folk and rock that no one will ever be able to match" while giving it a perfect score.
The band's legacy is solidifying in real time from these twin tentpoles of extreme emotion, and with this comes a look back at what that legacy is built on — the songs themselves. Travis Good, Dallas's brother and the Sadies' other singer-guitarist, graciously shared his thoughts on those building blocks with us, wandering through his five favourite and most impactful songs from the band's extensive catalogue. All five picks were sung by Dallas, and Travis's reflections were driven by his memories of the songs' conceptions, evolutions and lingering impact.
5. "Anna Leigh"
New Seasons (2007)
This one is from the New Seasons record we made back in 2007. We made half the record in Spain and the rest in Toronto. Gary Louris produced all of it. The song was written by Rick White, who has contributed so much to the Sadies over the years that we've always considered him kind of a fifth member of the band. It's a haunting tune that tells a story of premonitions of tours gone wrong and ghosts. I remember we got Gary to sing harmony and my uncle Brian played Gordon Lightfoot's 12-string guitar. The song is kind of creepy, but not quite as much so now that I've come to look forward to visits from ghosts in the middle of the night.
4. "Dying Is Easy"
Precious Moments (1998)
I'm a bit sentimental about this one because it's the first song I wrote that the Sadies ever recorded. At the time, I was touring with our dad's band, the Good Brothers, and Dallas was playing with Phono-Comb and the Sadies, which consisted of Dallas, Sean Dean and Andrew Scott at the time. I'd sit in with them once in a while and play fiddle on murder ballads and country classics. Dallas was recording with Phono-Comb, and I suggested they try doing my song. I wasn't really surprised when he said "no," but I was pretty thrilled that he said he wanted to record it for the first Sadies single [as "Dying Ain't No Way to Make a Living," in 1996]. From then on, I was in the band full-time. We recorded it two other times, once on our first CD and later on our live album [2006's The Sadies in Concert, Volume One]. The live version is my favourite. That was the most fun we had making a record. My mom and Kelly Hogan sang on it, the stars aligned and all our friends and family showed up.
3. "More Alone"
Colder Streams (2022)
It was hard to make this list because I don't like listening to Sadies' old songs much — now more than ever. When the three of us first decided to get together to play music after Dallas left us, it was too hard for us to play old songs. We just focused on songs from our new record. This one was the first one we worked on. The lyrics were so eerie to sing under the circumstances, but it strangely felt pretty good. We recorded this song during the lockdown in Montreal with Richard Reed Parry and Pietro Amato. The curfew was in effect and we were socially distancing in masks at the studio, so we all really did feel alone. Dallas wrote this song on August 21, 2020. The only reason I remember that is that he wrote it the day after we lost Justin Townes Earle.
2. "Riverview Fog"
Northern Passages (2017)
The opening track on Northern Passages, we recorded this record in our parents' basement with our sound technician at the time, Guillermo Subauste. We thought it was a good idea to save studio costs and play in the room Dallas and I used to practice in with our first high school bands. The song started out as an e-mail Dallas was writing to Rick White that he quickly turned into a song. The tag at the end is taken from an unintended song called "All Passed Away" that we recorded on our live album. It's a nice song about missing his old buddy and his cats. It really takes me back to the first Sadies tours down east when we would stay with Rick and Tara for long periods of time, recording in the basement, listening to records and smoking BTs. [There are] so many good friends from Moncton that I think about when I hear this song.
1. "Sunset to Dawn"
New Seasons (2007)
I remember, when Dallas first showed us this one, I thought it was the saddest song he'd ever written. He wrote a lot of dark songs but I thought this one was dark and beautiful. We recorded it at Blue Rodeo's Woodshed studio and got my dad to play autoharp and my mom and Gary Louris to sing on it. My mom always sang this with us at live shows and it was always a highlight. We learned so much about singing from Gary and I think this is one of the best examples. When it came to harmonies, he sent us in directions we never would have thought of. After we made this record, we started to get the confidence to start turning up our vocals on records and at shows.