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Sister Sadie

From the sonic qualities alone, one can tell that this music is directed to the world at large, angling for airplay in major country markets.

Sister Sadie

CD: No Fear
Artist: Sister Sadie
Artist Website:
Label: Mountain Home Music
Label Website:

From reading the press materials sent with the media kit, Sister Sadie's No Fear has been in the works for a long time, interrupted by the pandemic, like so many thousands of plans, projects, tours, and lives. Released in January 2024, No Fear is now here. If you've been waiting since 2022, with the release of the single country mourner "Diane", your wait is over. I expect you'll think the wait from this 2020 IBMA Entertainer of the Year group was worth it.

The production values are very high on the entire album. From the sonic qualities alone, one can tell that this music is directed to the world at large, angling for airplay in major country markets. If that was indeed the goal of the band and producers, I think they achieved it. It has that smooth Nashville sound, not too much of the hard edge of Bluegrass that helps define the genre. Is it country? Is it Bluegrass? Is it hard to define? Definitions differ with tastes. I can easily define No Fear as completely listenable music. I like it. Liking it is the only definition that matters. Some like liver; some don't. No Fear is professional from start to end.

The songs are:

1. Willow
2. If We Ain't Drinking the We're Fighting
3. Blue As My Broken Heart
4. Baby You're Gone
5. Mississippi River Long
6. Pad Thai Karaoke
7. Cannonball
8. Lie to Me
9. Diane
10. Free
11. Well
12. One's Real Life
13. Ode to the Ozarks

I liked them all, of course, some more than others. Particular mentions for "Willow," "Mississippi River Long," "Pad Thai Karaoke," "Cannonball," "Lie to Me," "Free," "Well," and "One's Real Life."

"Willow" – The John Cowan-esque tone and attack on the bass really got my attention. The fiddle gives us a brief taste of "Carroll County Blues," which I really liked. "Mississippi River Long" – The vocals are outstanding. This song should be at the top of every country music chart. "Pad Thai Karaoke" – Just smokin', particularly at 2:24 into the song, where the band uses the "Mash against it" (A Bill Monroe phrase) punctuation in the timing. While the whole band is kicking it hard, Tristan Scroggins (Mister Sadie) just wears the mandolin out. This recording is worthy of the "whoo" at the end. I whooed, too. I may have stood up and saluted. I think I did. If not, I'm doing it now. "Cannonball" – I liked everything about this song. I won't bother to mention any particulars other than the use of a couple of powerfully discordant notes at 0:42. The use of a discordant note makes the resolution twice as big. We want it, we long for it, then get the release on the resolve. This song is just perfect. "Lie to Me" – This is as country as it gets—a lullaby sung just for me. "Free" – The James Taylor-eqsue guitar intro set the hook right off the bat. This is another lullaby sung just for me. "Well," – I particularly like the rhythm guitar on this song. It drove the whole song. The intentional timing flip at 2:22 (mashing against it one more time) will wake you right up. "One's Real Life" – The third lullaby done just for me.

That there are three songs I call lullabies that seem to be done just for me speaks a lot. Music is personal: the production, the delivery, the reception. Each piece is amplified or attenuated by the others. When the stars align so that is seems the music is speaking directly to me, it is remarkable, thus this remark.

Congratulations, Sister Sadie, on producing a recording that transcends more than one genre. I wonder what the next one will sound like. I expect it will be even better.

Have no fear.

Mississippi Chris Sharp

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