THERE'S an inside joke for fans on the new Sadies album.
The last track on the album is called 10 More Songs, a four-minute and 15-second bluegrass medley of the 10 songs that preceded it.
The title is a reference to the band's encores during their live set: instead of a song or three, the Sadies will usually play about 10 more songs and encores can last as long as their main set.
"That's what we do when we're enjoying ourselves and people are enjoying the show. When you're performing you come up with a set that people will enjoy; when you get an encore essentially the show's over, and there's nothing more frustrating than a show that runs on too long. If you're done you're done," guitarist-vocalist Dallas Good explains.
"Playing 10 more songs was just for the sake of trying to please whoever was there and developing a crowd while showing how we're different live from our records."
That being the case, the Toronto quartet's shows in Winnipeg have been plenty enjoyable since they regularly play lengthy encores here and have developed a devoted following. Another long set could be in the cards tonight when the group returns to the Pyramid Cabaret in support of its new album, Darker Circles.
After getting its fill of country and western on last year's Country Club with X's John Doe, and taking on instrumental surf music on the Tales of the Rat Fink soundtrack, the group get back to its core sound of roots, bluegrass and garage rock on Darker Circles, which finds the band — Good, his brother Travis Good (guitar, fiddle mandolin, vocals), Sean Dean (bass) and Mike Belitsky (drums) — exploring themes of loss, regret, heartache, aging and death.
The songs are fictional stories, so fans should not worry about Good's mental health, he says with a laugh.
"I'm definitely able to remove myself from the songs. Once I'm committed to the concept, from there I'm just looking for words that rhyme," he says.
No matter the topic, it's impossible to lump the Sadies into one genre since they incorporate so many styles into their music, including surf, western swing and songs that sound like they could be the score of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. They can seemingly play anything and have been called upon to collaborate with the likes of Doe, Jon Spencer, Andre Williams, Gord Downie and Neko Case, who has called them the best band in the world.
Not that the humble Good thinks there's anything remarkable in what the band is doing just because they aren't easily pigeonholed.
"Music history has become one giant melting pot filled with new hybrids, it seems, and we're no exception. We do the best we can do without any attempts at recreating the past. We would never claim to be reinventing the wheel," he says.
Tonight, 10 p.m., Pyramid Cabaret
With the Pack A.D.