Thursday, May 2, 2013
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: THE GOOD FAMILY ALBUM
Although linked strongly, The Sadies and The Good Brothers have existed in separate worlds until now. The Goods make fine music, more live than recorded these days, but its old-school sound has never been picked up on by the same crowd that revere the eclectic electric Sadies. This then, will show everybody how it meets, and it meets most wonderfully. Folk, country, Bluegrass and rock all get a turn here, everything from banjo boogie to down-home ballads. The young boys handle the guitars, the older ones dobro, autoharp and banjo, the non-Good Sadies (Mike Biletsky, Sean Dean) take their usual place behind drums and bass, D'arcy's fiddle is all over, and Mom and the rest share the vocals. The vibe is rural, the values are older, country is foremost on everyone's mind, but it's that smart, philosophical country writing. When Margaret sings "Oh, sweet oblivion" in Paradise, we knew we're talking deep truths here, not tossed-off corn. That's one of two Greg Keelor co-writes here, a family friend. True country traveler Daniel Romano also contributes a co-write, and the rest all come from various family pens.
The playing is, of course, exceptional, as are the performances, unpolished but true singing throughout. It's the songs though that make this such a standout. Bruce and Larry's Outside Of Saskatoon is a great romp, a classic tale of someone who left the farm young, and is now realizing it's time to come back, that home is where the heart is. Margaret's Secrets, which she wrote with Keelor, is folk rock from the 60's, an Ian and Sylvia hit that never was, about the distance between two lovers. Bruce's Restless River is the sad tale of a young Ojibwe girl taken from her home, maybe to a hated residential school, a topical song that shows the Good family doing what folk performers do well, telling our important stories.
There's something magical about families making music together, because that's how they started out, and probably what they love doing best. It sounds like they've been leading up to this album since the kids were born. Thanks for sharing.