Steve Wilson and Sarah Logan’s “Sadie Danced a Hole in Her Stocking”
Steve Wilson and Sarah Logan’s musical collaboration under the moniker of Wilson Banjo Co. is another stage of development in the natural blossoming of Wilson’s love for bluegrass. It began as an extension of his instrument business and under his own name. The most current incarnation of the project, however, takes the name Wilson Banjo Co. on its new single “Sadie Danced a Hole in Her Stocking”.
The track written by Rick Lang, Troy Engle, and Jack Shannon is a slice of prime bluegrass swing seemingly tailored for Wilson’s strengths. He’s ably accompanied by Logan’s vocals and fiddle, Glen Crain’s resophonic guitar, Milom Williams’ mandolin, and Tony Wray’s contributions on bass and acoustic guitar. Melanie Wilson’s harmony vocals mesh well with Sarah and Steve’s voices.
Logan’s singing has a quiet confidence and rides the arrangement like she’s caught in the moment from the first word. This song doesn’t really take advantage of any potential for two or three-part harmonies; Logan carries the bulk of the vocal role. The song’s lyrical content has a light-hearted mood without sacrificing its intelligence and strikes a classic balance between the words and musical arrangement.
It runs a little over three minutes long without wearying listeners. Typical bluegrass fare often runs shorter than this. Purists may be divided on the merits of “Sadie Danced a Hole in Her Stocking”; Wilson Banjo Co. breaks with tradition by performing original material and the song’s structure of the players trading off lines may alienate some older listeners, but Wilson, Logan, and their collaborators won’t mind.
Performances such as this are courting a broader audience. There isn’t anything in the language or underlying motivations behind this upbeat song that listeners young and old won’t relate to. It demonstrates to any remaining doubters that bluegrass is far from a moribund style bound to an increasingly distant time but, instead, a vital and ongoing musical concern capable of connecting with listeners.
Melody is, of course, an important part of what makes the music go. Wilson Banjo Co. is exquisitely tuned in to the song’s melodic potential in a familiar yet individual fashion. You likely won’t hear any direct echoes in the music. Instead, the synthesis of the old and new present in “Sadie Danced a Hole in Her Stocking” gives listeners the best of both worlds.
Wilson and his gifts clearly command respect. He would not be surrounded by such a cadre of first-class musicians if they judged him a dilettante and there is no reason to believe “Sadie Danced a Hole in Her Stocking” marks the end of the project’s run. Wilson Banjo Co. sounds full of life and ready to continue making music for years, if not decades, to come. Their love for and understanding of bluegrass and what it can do places each of its participants among the vanguard of the genre’s leading practitioners today. Think bluegrass is too old-fashioned for you? You’re wrong and “Sadie Danced a Hole in Her Stocking” proves it. It also encourages you to keep coming back for more.
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