He was just here at Hillside, playing at our winter festival as we livestreamed the Sadies from the River Run Centre on February 5 th , 2022. Less than two weeks later, he was gone. And just 48 years old. As Jonathan Bernstein writes in Rolling Stone, “The Sadies — Good, his brother Travis, bassist Sean Dean, and drummer Mike Belitsky — cultivated a reputation as ‘artists’ artists’ for their unique blend of roots-music styles, immaculate showmanship, and first-rate storytelling. In his tenure with the Sadies, Good collaborated with everyone from Neil Young, the Band’s Garth Hudson, and Kurt Vile to Justin Townes Earle, Gary Louris and Neko Case.”
We remember Dallas for his cool outfits, his quiet, unpretentious manner, his stunning musicianship, and his ability to perform live like no other, improvising and co-creating with other acts while never overshadowing them. For instance, we remember the time The Sadies happily played in a workshop with Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet at the 2013 summer festival. They covered Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death album from 1971 and it was thrilling to witness, not just because it showed the bands’ range and influences, but also because they did it with such exuberance and such joy. They ended up performing that Alice Cooper album together at the Garrison in Toronto afterward. And then there was the time they played with Buffy Sainte-Marie at our 2016 summer festival. As Sarah Greene wrote in her review:
When the Sadies came out, they launched into Farm In the Middle Of Nowhere, a jaunty country ditty perfectly suited to the Good Brothers’ guitar playing. Then Sainte-Marie reminded us about the Sadies’ cover of her song We Are Circling (which you can hear on 2013’s Internal Sounds), suggesting that no one has heard it. Dallas Good gently teased her, “Well, some of them heard it, Buffy.” What followed was a maybe once-in-a- lifetime cross-pollination of both versions that showcased beautiful in-the-round singing.
Alone onstage, Sainte-Marie is a captivating, multi-faceted performer, but with the Sadies, she was able to really dig into one of her comfort zones: frenetic, hard-hitting blues. The band played Sweet, Fast Hooker Blues from 1974’s Buffy, and it was so honest, strong and rocking.
Dallas Good transported so many of us with his music, and yet he was always humble about his talents. He and his band gave so much to Hillside. We were preparing to do an interview with Dallas for a session in our Now & Then video documentary series when we learned he had died. The world feels smaller for his passing. We always felt like our hearts grew when he was around.
Photo by Atsuko Kobasigawa: Dallas Good during The Sadies/Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet’s collab performance of ‘Love it to Death’ by Alice Cooper at the Hillside Festival, Guelph, ON, July 28, 2013.