The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour

Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way) August 14, 16, 17, 19, 21-23
More information:

The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour. Photo by Dave Carrico.

The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour. Photo by Dave Carrico.

An interview with Sadie Bowman. 

Describe your show in five words.

Satirical sendup of country music.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

This show is a historic concert event! With a full set of original songs and a story that emerges from the stage banter, you get a glimpse into the complicated relationship between America’s former country music sweethearts–all set to a live soundtrack of toe-tapping, gut-busting, head-shaking tunes.

I love that you’ve chosen country music as the genre of music in The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour – for some reason it’s such a polarizing genre. Where did the idea for the show come from?

You are definitely right–we find that many folks who dislike country music really fiercely identify with that aversion! Our songs come out of a sincere love for the roots of country music–the Loretta Lynns and June Carter Cashes of our musical history–but we feel that starting around the late ’80s and early ’90s, the genre really took a turn. We’ve all heard way too many formulaic contemporary songs about pickup trucks and girls in tight jeans, and to be quite honest, tuning into top 40 radio today often sounds like comedy to us. We like to say that if you like country music you’ll like this show, if you hate country music you’ll love this show. The songs are catchy and a believable tribute to the genre, but the lyrics can bite.

One of the phrases you have in your press release is ‘country music the way you wish you remembered it’. What does that mean in the context of this show?

We have created an entire mythos around the careers of Mattie and Maybelle Haydell. Their premise is that of a superstar country music sister act who saw the zenith of their career in the early ’90s–you may well remember, for instance, their hit albums including “Country Heart City Life” and “Too Short a Ride (which went platinum in 1991). After a dramatic fallout in 1993, the sisters were out of the public eye (and each others lives) for over twenty years. This show is their first time on stage together since then. We invite our audience to participate by coming along with this historic event as if you were there the first time. Back in Portland, OR, where we live, we play a lot of bar sets, and often encounter audience members who really get the joke and have a great time playing along. Folks will tell us stories about their grandma taking them to see us at the Nebraska State Fair, or they will request their favorite Christmas song (which we then have to write). It’s a LOT of fun to empower the audience to participate in the creation of these characters’ history if they feel moved to.

What was your writing process for The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour? Which, if any, band’s comeback stories did you research?

The ideas for our songs come from all over the place–their topics range from cheatin’ men to anti-bullying to overzealous patriotism to the temporality of life itself. Creating the characters and the zeitgeist of their heydey was aided by a lot of research into the big headlines of 1993 (specifically an indulgent amount of vintage “People” magazine). Both characters experienced their personal breakdowns with the influence of world events that you may well remember impacting your life as well. You can expect a lot of ’90s references (remember David Koresh? German reunification? Steve Urkel? Rodney King?) that will make you smile or roll your eyes.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Don’t expect redneck humor. Our songs are satirical, but we do not make fun of yokels. A comment we often receive is that the show is far smarter than what folks expect from “comedy country music.” Be prepared to listen to the lyrics as you tap your feet.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

Well, Mattie always says that Garth Brooks is like a big brother to her.

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at starting August 4.

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