Album Review: Big Sadie – Keep Me Waiting

The mere name Big Sadie is somewhat evocative of country music and the Chicago based acoustic duo that form the band deliver on this idea a hundred times over. Though seemingly fairly new to the country and folk scene the duo have produced their debut album Keep Me Waiting, a soothing but jaunty collection of songs that bring to life their sophisticated and tender take on American roots music.

Keep Me Waiting almost seems to crackle to life with all the charm and character of an old vinyl. There is a rich and versatile quality to their work that gives them a slightly timeless sound that allows them to tread a careful line between the contemporary and the nostalgic. Keep Me Waiting is rife with deep and evocative tunes that are carefully crafted around the resonant twangs of Elise Bergman’s stunning upright bass. Taking her charming and keen bass tunes as the spine of the duo’s music, they carefully craft their songs around this, dashing it with charismatic guitar tunes, daring and dextrous banjo melodies as well as vitalising, raucous country fiddle. As you sit back you cannot help but be transported to the deep South of America, engaged in a barn dance surrounded by hay bales and moonshine. Anni’s Orchard is especially evocative of this and is also one of the most musically phenomenal songs on the album as it effortlessly traverses the blurred lines between folk, roots, Americana and country music at the drop of a pin to create an endlessly catchy tune.

Big Sadie have a rich and varied collection of songs that allow them to continue this trend of blurring lines between their genres and even their timeframes. The album seems to gently drift through time as one song might have a contemporary nature that modernises it while the next can sound as though it has been around for a hundred years. However, despite their enigmatic musical stylings, their songs are truly completed by their unique and diverse vocals stylings. Bergman leads the way with her smooth, sultry and slightly honeyed voice that seems to almost tremble with passion while her counterpart Collin Moore presents a more earnest, smoky, bourbon-tinged voice that seems to slice right through you. As each of the duo sing their songs separately they have astonishing and beautiful voices but as they combine and harmonies on songs like Baby it Ain’t You, the effect is truly mesmerising. Together they become soft but powerful, raw yet polished; their harmonies blend polar opposites to create some of the richest and smoothest harmonies around.

Keep Me Waiting is a stunning debut an immeasurably talented young duo with a soft and tender tone but a fiery and playful charm to their music that ignites a desire to hear it time and time again. As rich and warm as a morning coffee, Big Sadie have a song for every mood and can pick you up or simply envelop you and leave you totally transfixed and charmed.

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Review by Joe Knipe