If this is Tuesday, it must be Chicago – again. That was the refrain two weeks ago from Travis Good, the guitarist and co-frontman of the Sadies, when reached by phone in the midst of yet another road trip across the United States. The hard-working Sadies have seen a lot of Chicago and a number of other American cities lately, promoting their own album, New Seasons, as well as their latest collaborative recording.
Just prior to the start of a ten-city tour through the U.S. opening for American singer Jenny Lewis, Good was driving the Sadies’ gear down to California. He planned to meet up with his band mates, who were arriving by plane, in Los Angeles. Good and his wife, Joanne Tickle, were making a bit of a vacation out of the trip, taking the scenic route, with plans to visit the Grand Canyon and other tourist attractions along the way.
When reached on his cell phone, Good was trying to escape rush-hour traffic in downtown Chicago, but he was still happy to be on the road. “We’ve been touring a lot, so the guys wanted to fly down [to L.A.],” he said. “We usually do about half and half — flying and driving — to shows.”
For the tour with Lewis, the Sadies play four dates in California before working their way through the north-western U.S., driving to shows in Portland, Seattle, Fargo, Minneapolis, Madison, and then, back to Chicago, before finishing in Columbus, Ohio. Once they are back in Canada, the band will make a return appearance at the Orono Town Hall on Saturday, June 13.
Since their performance in Orono last February, the Sadies have been busy collaborating with other musicians. Most notably, they have acted as the backup band for L.A.-based singer John Doe, and together they have released a new album, Country Club. Doe was the lead singer of the 1980s punk band, X. His solo work in the ‘90s was more roots-oriented, but Good admits to being more familiar with Doe’s punk rock repertoire.
“I was well aware of the X stuff,” said Good, laughing as he recalled his youthful rebellion. “Growing up as a son of [the acclaimed Canadian country band] the Good Brothers made me a bit of a punk rocker.” Travis and his brother, Dallas Good, eventually followed in their father Bruce’s footsteps when they formed the Sadies in 1998, along with bassist Sean Dean, and drummer Mike Belitsky.
Prior to this tour, the band had just finished a tour with Doe to promote the new album, with stops in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, and yet again, Chicago. Country Club is a collection of country classics made famous by the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson, with a couple of original compositions filling things out.
Good said the country album has been well-received by Sadies fans. “It’s not much of a left-hand turn. We’ve always had a bit of country in our sets. I’ve always thought of us as more of a country band than a rock band with our instruments: a fiddle and a stand-up bass,” he said.
Along with Doe, Good and band-mate Dean were recently featured on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air program in the U.S, discussing country music influences and playing songs from the album. Released in April, Country Club has made it to No. 10 on Amazon’s U.S. overall chart, and No. 1 on its Alternative Rock and Alt-Country & Americana chart.
Good said the Sadies have just finished working on a recording with R&B singer Andre Williams, who was formerly on Motown Records. Also according to Good, the band was in the studio over the winter months with Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip. “Gord is busy with his band, so we put the recording on hold,” explained Good. “We are about three-quarters through, but we haven’t decided what we’ll do with it. So far, it’s pretty good. We haven’t committed to anything, but it’s moving along.”
He said the Sadies will be happy to be playing their own material again when they arrive in Orono. “We’ll stick to our own guns,” he said, rather than playing material from the new album with Doe. “It’s been long enough. We look forward to doing our own songs. That’s what keeps our own stuff fresh.”
Good said he couldn’t be sure if any special guests will join the band on stage for the Orono show. But he noted that usually his Mom, Margaret Good, and Dad, Bruce of the Good Brothers, as well as Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, join the Sadies when they play Orono.
“I can’t say for sure, but the three of them all love that venue,” he said in reference to the Orono Town Hall. “We’ve played there three times, and they’ve been there all three times.”
Tickets for the show are $20 each, and will be available at the door. Advanced tickets may be purchased at Don’s Auto on Hwy. 115 in Orono, and at Hands On Music in Bowmanville. The doors open at 8 p.m. and the band starts at 9 p.m. The Town Hall is located at 5315 Main Street, Orono.