Sister Sadie is a wildfire: raging hot bluegrass combined with breathtaking instrumental drive and awe-inspiring vocals. Comprised of original members Deanie Richardson (fiddle), Gena Britt (banjo & vocals) and newcomers Jaelee Roberts (guitar & vocals), Dani Flowers (guitar & vocals), and Maddie Dalton (acoustic bass & vocals), Sister Sadie has combined the varied talents of each of the individual women in the lineup to create something that is far more than the sum of its parts. It is a sound uniquely their own. Yes, it’s undeniably classic, hard-driving bluegrass, but it’s much more than just that. Rooted in forceful and tight vocal harmonies, this isn’t your granddaddy’s Appalachian high lonesome sound. This is something far more powerful than that—it’s the sound of the mountains themselves.
When Sister Sadie first formed, they didn’t plan to stick around for more than a decade. They didn’t even plan to stick around for more than one show. But fate had other plans. In December of 2012, the original lineup of the band took the stage at the Station Inn with the goal of having a good time and playing good music together. “We thought it would be a fun little thing,” says Gena Britt. But it was immediate from the first moment that this band was more than just a flash in the pan. “I’ll never forget it. At five o’clock that evening, when we hit the first note, we all looked at each other like, ‘Oh yeah, this is pretty special.’”
The original Station Inn lineup formed the core of the band for the majority of the first eight years, featuring Dale Ann Bradley, Beth Lawrence, Tina Adair, and of course, Deanie Richardson and Gena Britt. Together, this lineup reached heights that none of them thought imaginable leading into what they had assumed would be a one-time Christmas season pickup gig. In 2019, following the release of their second studio album “Sister Sadie II” on Pinecastle Records, they had their debut on the Grand Ole Opry, won their first IBMA award for Vocal Group of the Year, and received a GRAMMY nomination for Bluegrass Album of the Year. In 2020, Deanie was named the IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year (the second woman to win that prize in the 30 year history of the awards), and the band took home the top prize as the Entertainer of the Year. Sister Sadie also was named Vocal Group of the Year for the second year running.
But without change, there is no growth—and Sister Sadie continues to grow.
The first gravitational shift came in finding a new lead vocalist in 2020—someone whose voice had the power and confidence to hold court and capture an audience. Fortunately, Jaelee Roberts had all of the above and more. Roberts had been in close proximity to the members of Sister Sadie for her whole life: Richardson played with her dad in New Tradition and Britt had played with her mom in Petticoat Junction. So when it came time to find a new voice for the band, her name immediately came to the fore. Despite her young age, there is nothing immature to be heard when she sings. Her voice is commanding, demanding the world stop and pay attention. It has the charisma and singularity to lead, while also melting like butter into spine-tingling harmonies. She is undeniable.
In 2021, Sister Sadie was featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s American Currents exhibit. That same year, the band took home a third consecutive IBMA Vocal Group of the Year award, and new member Jaelee Roberts was awarded the IBMA Momentum Vocalist of the Year award.
In 2022, there was a need for a third vocalist that would blend well with Jaelee & Gena. The first person to come to mind was one of Deanie & Gena’s favorite singer/songwriters, Dani Flowers. When the time came, they made the call & asked if she’d be interested and there was an immediate yes on the other end of the phone. Dani brings a sweet, tender tone in her lead vocals and her harmonies meld seamlessly. Her songwriting is second to none, which you’ll continue hearing on upcoming Sister Sadie recordings. While not intended, it was ironic how it worked out that Dani’s first show with Sister Sadie was at the Station Inn, where the band was originally formed. It seemed like the perfect fit, and it was. The addition of Dani maintained the inescapable magnetic draw that the Sister Sadie trio is known for.
In 2022, Gena Britt was recognized as the SPBGMA Banjo Player of the Year and Sister Sadie signed with Mountain Home Records to begin work on their third studio album.
The final puzzle piece fell into place with the addition of Maddie Dalton to the band in 2023. When Sister Sadie began their search for a new bass player to join the lineup, they also needed to find someone to fit the energy & drive that the band has maintained since the beginning. Maddie is widely known in the Missouri bluegrass scene & she is a musical force to be reckoned with. Maddie’s second show with the band was again at The Station Inn, the band’s home away from home. Playing together that night sealed the deal: that same spark from 2012 was alive and burning. This was the new Sister Sadie.
In 2023, Jaelee Roberts took home the honor of SPBGMA Female Vocalist of the Year. The band continues to work on the third album which is set to release soon.
Sister Sadie has been completely reborn, with an energy and excitement that they’ve never had before. Vocals have always been the foundation of Sister Sadie’s sound, and the new vocal blend—combining Gena Britt’s hard-driving North Carolina bluegrass, Dani Flower’s honeyed folk, and Jaelee’s world-shaking power and range—has spurred the band into exploring new aural territory.
The addition of three new wildly talented musicians & vocalists has broadened the genre palette of their compositions as well, shifting the landscape of the music they make. This band didn’t climb down from their peak during these changes—they moved the entire mountain instead.
This new energy continues to drive the band forward. Now, entering their second decade as a band, the energy that they felt all those years ago burns brighter than ever before.
“Sister Sadie is an inspiring musical collaboration bringing together some of the best women bluegrass music has ever claimed.” ~ Alison Krauss
“These bluegrass chart-toppers are finished with heartbreak, ready to embrace a future filled with brighter horizons.” ~ Rolling Stone
“Sister Sadie is a ground-breaking band” ~ No Depression