It’s my last long run day before the Around the Bay 30k next weekend – God help me. But this past Thursday’s fartlek run went well enough so I’m hoping to have similar success on today’s 15.5k run. It’s a bright, clear, warm, sunshiney day outside so I’m choosing to be optimistic that this will be the case. There’s no “playlist”today however, but instead a live ‘In Concert (Vol. 1)‘ performance by one of Canadiana‘s premiere country-tinged rock bandz The Sadies.
This album is on loan to me from Angie, a friend at The Sanctuary who is feeling a little guilty for not being able to part with a USB stick I passed her way eons ago. I mention this now not for the purpose of rubbing it in or making her feel even more guilty but simply because it makes me laugh. Whatever the reason, she is dead on with this suggestion for good Canadian music. Like a surfing cowboy wearing a Nehru jacket, the Sadies’ music blends elements of country & western, Americana, surf, and garage rock. But nowhere in their catalog do these elements gel quite so perfectly as on this particular live album which they recorded over two nights at Lee’s Palace in their hometown of Toronto back in 2006.
‘In Concert (Vol. 1)‘ features an abundant helping of guest stars, ranging from the Good Brothers (the country act led by Dallas and Travis’ parents), former Band keyboardist Garth Hudson and members of Blue Rodeo to Jon Spencer, Jon Langford of the Mekons and the Waco Brothers, Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, and frequent collaborators Neko Case and Kelly Hogan.
Given the talent on-stage, it says a lot that the Sadies not only don’t drown in the wake of their “special guests,” but sound fiery and fully in control for more than 110 minutes, and they can leap from the country gospel of ‘Higher Power‘ and the honky tonk fire of ‘1,000,002 Songs‘ to the blues-punk blast of ‘Back Off‘ (with Jon Spencer adding his trademark showboat spiel) and the flinty roar of ‘Memphis, Egypt‘ (as Jon Langford briefly turns the Sadies into the Mekons) and land firmly on their feet every time. Also, while there’s a cool assurance to the Sadies’ studio work, here the band isn’t afraid to turn it up and draw sweat, and there’s a level of excitement in these sessions that will please fans and surprise the doubters. Steve Albini, Ken Friesen, and Don Pyle get the whole shebang on tape with high fidelity without sacrificing the energy of the musicians or the audience in the process.
From the opening note, the Sadies run (pun intended) through lean, fierce versions of ‘Cheat‘ and ‘Why Be So Curious?‘ and tackling The Band‘s ‘Leave Me Alone‘ and Bob Wills’ western swing classic ‘Stay a Little Longer‘ with excitable energy. They also rip through two Roger Miller covers with Neko Case, the spirited ‘Home‘ and the swinging encore ‘Jason Fleming‘. Oh, and don’t forget a surprisingly solid job of memorializing Syd Barrett their cover of ‘Lucifer Sam‘.
The run went…okay.
The initial plan was to complete 3 x 20 minute progressions, or 21.1k depending on how I felt. Thing is, I never quite felt the right mojo. Well, for any specific amount of time anyway. Instead, energy seemed to drift in and out of body at specific points indicating that I am still healing from last weeks plague virus so while I’m happy to have been able to keep a steady pace of 5:25min/km (often faster) I decided to error on the side of caution and keep it short and tax myself any more than necessary. Instead of beating myself up I’m instead choosing to pat myself on the back for simply having gotten out on a gorgeous day and doing something positive and smart towards regaining my health and fitness.