From being little girls playing together and jamming at bluegrass festivals, to playing at the Grand Ole Opry, Sister Sadie was formed as a result of an everlasting friendship. What started as a fun show at the Station Inn one night, turned into a successful career for these talented women.
Sister Sadie is an all-female bluegrass group comprised of current members Deanie Richardson, Dale Ann Bradley, Gena Britt and Tina Adair. Each member of the group is an All Star at their instrument and/or vocal talents. This group was nominated for Bluegrass Album of The Year at the 2019 Grammy Awards, and they are up for two International Bluegrass Music awards (IBMA) as well. They have been nominated for Vocal Group of the Year and Album of the Year.
The sound of Sister Sadie is an enticing, driving sound that leaves you thirsty for more. The songs on both of their albums have a little bit different flavor. There is the swampy fiddle sound, the driving mandolin chop, vocals that give you goose bumps, and everything else in between. Whether you enjoy bluegrass music or not, you can find at least one of Sister Sadie’s songs that speaks to you.
Sister Sadie has put out two albums, and they hope to start recording their third album this coming fall. They just had their debut at the Grand Ole Opry and will be having many more performances there and elsewhere in the future.
Music Mecca: Y’all are an all-female bluegrass group. Could you talk about how Sister Sadie got together?
Sister Sadie: Dale Ann Bradley, Gena Britt, Beth Lawrence, Kim Fox and myself got together just for fun to play the Station Inn about 7 years ago. We all grew up knowing each other and playing music together. It went so well that we decided to do another one, and added Tina Adair on mandolin. We were just going to do a few shows but more people were calling wanting us to play so here we are today playing as many shows as we want to do. It was just friends having fun and turned into Sister Sadie.
MM: Your latest album, Sister Sadie II, awarded you with a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album of 2019. What was it like being at the Grammy’s as a nominee?
SS: It was literally something that you dream of as a little girl but never believe will happen. All of us ladies had that dream as little girls watching the Grammy’s. To be there, nominated for a record that we all did together was a dream come true. What an experience to get to go to LA and do that with these ladies.
MM: I have seen a few videos that have been posted of some of your new songs, and they all have a very unique sound. How do you all execute the songwriting process?
SS: We write some of the songs that we record, and others we find individually and bring to the table for recording. We all have to agree on the song before it makes the cut. As for executing the songwriting process, we write songs with other folks or by ourselves and see if they fit the group. So far we’ve not written anything together or specifically for a Sister Sadie project. I think we are going to try that soon….writing a few together.
MM: Aside from the Grammy’s, you’ve also been nominated for two IBMA awards this year. Would you say these have been the pinnacle moments for Sister Sadie so far, and if not, what is?
SS: These are major pinnacle moments for us, and I’d add the first and every time that we get to play the Grand Ole Opry. There is just something about that stage and that audience. That’s another thing we all dreamed of as kids and now it’s a reality for us.
MM: While it may be like choosing a favorite child, what would you say is Sister Sadie’s favorite song off the new album? Is there a particular one that means the most to you?
SS: I love “900 Miles”. It was brought in by Tina Adair and is an Odetta song. I loved Odetta’s version but heard us doing it more haunting and with an Appalachian feel. So being the fiddler, I arranged this song with only fiddle on it. That’s a joke we tell from the stage but I love it stripped down with just the fiddle and vocals. It goes over so well from the stage.
MM: When y’all perform, there is always a driving beat that keeps the audience enticed, even on your slow songs. What are some of the musical ways that you achieve that?
SS: I think that is just our energy that we are putting out there. We love making music together and being on stage together. That energy comes across to the audience as well. It’s contagious. We honestly love doing this together.
MM: Was bluegrass music a part of your lives growing up, or did some of you come from different musical backgrounds?
SS: We all love different styles of music but bluegrass is our passion. We all grew up in this genre. I have been blessed enough to get to play country music with Patty Loveless and Vince Gill, Irish music with The Chieftains and even some Rock n Roll music with Bob Seger. I still consider bluegrass my passion.
MM: For a group of wide-eyed young kids wanting to start a bluegrass band, what advice would you give them?
SS: Being in a band is sometimes hard. You aren’t going to agree on everything, you have to share the task at hand of booking, banking, arranging, driving, sound and many other things that will come up. However, if you get to make music with your best pals and be creative with them and ride up and down the road with them laughing your butt off consider yourself a very blessed. Always try to see a situation from others points of view, don’t let your band mates down by not taking care of your responsibilities that have been given to you. Always have yourself and your instrument prepared. BE A TEAM PLAYER. THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU!
MM: Every song on your current album has a different feel and none of them sound the same, yet they are all done in the same genre. What are some of the ways you achieved that?
SS: We all have a hand in arranging the material. It actually just happens. Sister Sadie is 5 different women but we think alike musically. It works brilliantly.
MM: What does the rest of 2019 have in store for Sister Sadie?
SS: Actually looking for and writing material for a new record which we hope to start recording this fall. We are super excited about attending IBMA and being with our bluegrass friends all week in September. We love being at The Grand Ole Opry any chance we can so looking forward to more nights there.
For more info on Sister Sadie, be sure to visit their website HERE.