Chicago-based band Big Sadie performed at the third WFMT Cabaret hosted in the Pregnant Buffalo Lounge at the Chopin Theatre. Big Sadie is influenced by music from across America, with its core members Elise Bergman and Collin Moore hailing from the Midwest and Appalachia respectively. Rounding out the band’s current lineup are banjo player Andy Malloy and fiddler Matt Brown. Big Sadie performed several original songs during the event that you can enjoy below.
The first tune Big Sadie shared was “Danny,” which is also the first track on the group’s debut album Keep Me Waiting. According to Bergman, who wrote the song, “’Danny’ is about lost love and having a hard time letting go. And even though it has that weight to it, I think there’s something hopeful and redemptive about talking those emotions through.” Bergman added that this song was influenced by “traditional American and bluegrass music, which often sounds upbeat but ends up being about drinking and cheating.” Listen to “Danny” below.
“Need Your Love,” written by Moore, asks, “How do you keep people in your life?” Bergman said the song “felt like a great Big Sadie collaboration,” with Malloy and Brown featured prominently in the arrangement. “They give the song this richness and help to make that bluegrass sound come to life in a way that’s a little more difficult when there’s just a guitar and bass,” Bergman said. Watch Big Sadie’s performance of “Need Your Love,” sung by Moore, below.
The band also combined two songs – “Big South Fork” and “Asheville” – into a mashup. The Cumberland River, one of the South’s large waterways, splits to form Big South Fork, a river and gorge located not far from where Moore grew up. This instrumental homage to East Tennessee blends seamlessly with “Asheville,” one of the first songs Bergman and Moore performed together. The band decided to put the two tunes together for technical, not thematic, reasons: both are in the same key. The mashup has since become the band’s unofficial tribute to Appalachia, which you can hear below.
“Like a Fool,” just like “Danny,” is about heartbreak. “I’m interested in how we relate to people in committed relationships and how the ends of relationships move people into new ways of interacting with each other. It’s such a natural part of life,” Bergman said of the inspiration behind this song. Watch Big Sadie’s performance of “Like a Fool” below.