The Sadies: Stories Often Told (Yep Rock Records)

With luck, the preceding will tempt adventurous readers to investigate the Sadies’ Stories Often Told, the band’s third full-length release—it’s a disc worthy of such investigation.

“Nobody can play like the Band anymore—except the Sadies,” singer-songwriter Neko Case observed last fall in Harp. Because she counts the Sadies as cohorts, of course, one might be tempted to suspect that observation reflected some small bias.

Still and all, such songs as “Within a Stone” and “Such a Little Word” on Stories Often Told, the latest release from the lowercase band, generally do echo Robbie Robertson’s capitalized crew in their funky intelligence—and even without those perceived echoes, the disc makes for interesting listening.

Like the Band, the Sadies hail from Toronto. Nevertheless, improbably, drummer-vocalist Mike Belitsky, bassist Sean Dean, vocalist-guitarist Dallas Good, and his brother, guitarist-vocalist Travis Good, can sound every bit as southwestern as the Tucson-based Calexico. By way of example, “Mile Over Mecca,” one of the four instrumentals on Stories Often Told, evokes the shimmer of heat across Death Valley sands, and on “Oak Ridges,” it takes little effort to imagine a squint worthy of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name gracing the face of whoever sings lead (the disc’s credits tend toward vagueness on the vocals).

Elsewhere the CD diversifies sonically, befitting music once reportedly characterized by the band’s own press material as “space cowboy.” On “A Steep Climb,” for instance, guest vocalist Margaret Good duets effectively with either Belitsky or one of her sons (recall the parenthetical ending the last paragraph). Otherwise, “Tiger Tiger” rocks along in a pleasant fashion, and “Of Our Land” sounds like a time-lost bit of ’60s psychedelia.

With luck, the preceding will tempt adventurous readers to investigate the Sadies’ Stories Often Told, the band’s third full-length release—it’s a disc worthy of such investigation.

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