Dallas Good, singer, guitarist, and founding member of the Canadian garage-country-rock band the Sadies, died Thursday at the age of 48. His death was confirmed by Andrew Colvin, the Sadies’ longtime agent; no cause of death was given. As one of the lead singers of the Sadies, alongside his brother Travis Good, Dallas Good spent roughly 25 years releasing influential, critically revered records and touring as a member of the band.
“It’s with unfathomable sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Dallas on Thursday, February 17th,” the band wrote in a statement. “Forty-eight years old, he died of natural causes while under doctor’s care for a coronary illness discovered earlier this week.”
“Some of the best music I’ve ever heard came out of Dallas Good,” wrote guitarist Matt Sweeney. “He was a genius and the f’n coolest person.”
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.
“He was a beautiful guy and naturally gifted musician,” Steve Albini wrote upon news of Good’s death. “Opened every conversation laughing, a warm, unpretentious soul. Everybody who knew him feels like they lost a brother.”
Just got word of Dallas Good of the Sadies passing. He was a beautiful guy and naturally gifted musician. Opened every conversation laughing, a warm, unpretentious soul. Everybody who knew him feels like they lost a brother. Requiescat.
— steve albini (@electricalWSOP) February 18, 2022
Although the Sadies released roughly 20 records throughout their career, the band became best known for their transcendent live shows, where the quartet displayed their range of influences, from country & western to folk-punk to Sixties garage rock. “My favorite Sadies experience is the live Sadies,” Neko Case told PopMatters in 2005.
“We are semi-unique in the sense that the Sadies have never had a hit or some sort of ‘golden moment’ where the clouds parted and we had our chance to win over the hearts of millions,” Good told the Toronto Star in 2010. “So we’ve basically developed our entire fan base from playing in small bars and working our way up — which is a very slow, diagonal slant.”
Good and his brother Travis were the sons of Bruce Good, a member of the Canadian bluegrass band the Good Brothers in the Seventies and Eighties. “My folks played music all the time and I went to a lot of shows,” Good told Small Town Toronto in 2011. “I have a lot of memories of musicians growing up, but I didn’t want to become one. I didn’t really give a shit for country music or bluegrass, until I was much older.”
Before forming the Sadies, Good played in a series of punk bands (Guilt Parade, Rat Crushers, Blibber, Satanatras) that he was introduced to via his older brother Travis. “Toronto was a small scene back then,” Good told Vice in 2017. “I ended up playing in all of these bands with [Travis’] friends.”
According to Good, he switched his devotions from punk to country music after his bandmate Sean Dean purchased an upright bass. “Sean and I are very much of a Carl Perkins camp over Elvis,” Good said in 2017. “We just started going in a very different direction.”
After forming in the mid-Nineties, the Sadies released their debut Precious Moments on Bloodshot Records in 1998. Neko Case had introduced the band to the influential Chicago punk-roots label, with Steve Albini producing the debut. “Our discipline falls into different emphases within the band,” Dallas once said of his musical partnership with Travis. “I focus much more on the lyrics and Travis is very disciplined with his guitar playing.”
Many of the band’s early records became cult classics, earning fans like Ron Sexsmith, the Sheepdogs, and Erin Rae, all of whom posted tributes to Good upon his death. The Sadies also developed a reputation as an in-demand backing band, collaborating with artists like the Mekons’ Jon Langford, Case, Andre Williams and Justin Townes Earle.
“We don’t reinvent the wheel with what we do, and we’re quick to list our influences,” Dallas said in 2007. “I would never deny that we have a huge list of influences and idols, and it’s shaped who we are and what we do. However, we would never try to emulate something else. We’re just making sure that we’re just doing what we do well together.”