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Blue Rodeo

Canada's most popular roots-rock band, Blue Rodeo has developed into a veritable institution in their home country. Their sound, a basic blend of country, folk, and rock, also has a definite pop appeal that underlines their devotion to later-period Beatles, in addition to expected touchstones like Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, and the Band. Consistency has been the hallmark of Blue Rodeo's output, both in terms of sound (which followed much the same blueprint throughout their career) and quality (thanks to the songwriting team of vocalists/guitarists Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor). That, in turn, has allowed the band considerable longevity, and they earned a whole new audience with the advent of the No Depression movement.

Blue Rodeo was founded in Toronto by its two lead singers, guitarists, and songwriters, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor. The two met in high school and had been playing together since 1977, when they started a punk-influenced band called the Hi-Fi's. In 1981, they moved to New York in search of a record deal, and reorganized the band under a new name, Fly to France. Three years of hunting proved fruitless, and the group switched styles several times before Cuddy and Keelor returned to Toronto in 1984. The following year, they assembled a new band with the idea of returning to organic, guitar-based music in an era dominated by synth pop. Christened Blue Rodeo, the initial lineup also featured drummer Cleave Anderson, bassist Bazil Donovan, and keyboardist Bob Wiseman.

Blue Rodeo quickly became a popular live act on the Toronto scene, which was already geared toward the kind of music the band was playing. They caught the attention of John Caton's Risque Disque label, which signed them and worked out a distribution deal with Warner's Canadian division. Their 1987 debut album, Outskirts, was a smash hit in Canada, selling over 200,000 copies (the Canadian equivalent of double platinum) and landing them a slot on tour opening for k.d. lang. The more introspective, socially aware Diamond Mine followed in 1989, and it sold even better, not to mention winning the band its first of many Juno Awards. That same year, they appeared in the Meryl Streep film Postcards from the Edge, but also lost drummer Anderson, who retired from music and was replaced by Mark French. Meanwhile, Wiseman released his first solo album, In Her Dream: Bob Wiseman Sings Wrench Tuttle.

Moving up from the now-defunct Risque Disque to Warner itself, Blue Rodeo made a promotional push in the United States with their third album, 1990's slightly poppier Casino. Produced by Pete Anderson (of Dwight Yoakam fame), the album was a hit with American critics, but not American record buyers; nonetheless, it still went platinum in Canada. Blue Rodeo returned in 1992 with one of their most acclaimed albums, Lost Together; it marked the final appearances of Mark French and Bob Wiseman, the latter of whom had already completed a second solo record and departed for a highly idiosyncratic career on his own. New drummer Glenn Milchem, keyboardist James Gray, and steel guitarist Kim Deschamps were all onboard for 1994's folky, largely acoustic Five Days in July. Recorded at Keelor's rural farmhouse the previous summer, it proved to be one of the band's biggest critical and commercial successes in Canada, introducing a number of fan favorites.

Blue Rodeo's hot streak continued with 1995's Nowhere to Here, a more eclectic record that re-established the group's connection to '60s psychedelia. The follow-up, 1997's Tremolo, was a looser, more jam-oriented record that focused on spontaneity over careful songcraft; perhaps as a result, it received mixed reviews. Meanwhile, Keelor issued his first solo album, Gone, that year, and Cuddy's own debut, All in Time, followed in 1998. Following those side projects, Blue Rodeo issued the double-live collection Just Like a Vacation in 1999, and reconvened in the studio for The Days in Between. By the time it was released in 2000 (again to mixed reviews), Kim Deschamps had parted ways with the band, and was replaced by former Wilco member Bob Egan. Following the release of a Greatest Hits album in 2001, Egan made his debut with 2002's Palace of Gold.

The group returned in 2005 with Are You Ready and again in 2007 with Small Miracles, both for WEA International; during the interim between those releases, James Grey left the group, and Bob Packwood became Blue Rodeo's new keyboard player. Packwood's stay with the band was a short one, and Mike Boguski took over on keys in 2009. In 2010, Blue Rodeo released their first studio double album, The Things We Left Behind, which earned a long-list nomination for that year's Polaris Prize. 2012 saw the group inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame during that year's Juno Awards broadcast. In 2013, former member James Grey succumbed to a heart attack, and as hearing problems began to impact Greg Keelor's on-stage performances, guitarist Colin Cripps joined the lineup to take over Keelor's duties on guitar. That year also brought a new studio album, In Our Nature, and in 2014 the group released their first holiday album, A Merrie Christmas to You. In 2015, as public outcry over the administration of Prime Minister Stephen Harper spread across Canada, Blue Rodeo joined the fray with the single "Stealin' All My Dreams." Blue Rodeo's fourth concert album, Live at Massey Hall, was released in October 2015, drawn from a series of performances staged at the venerable Toronto venue in 2014. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: In Our Nature

1. New Morning Sun

2. Wondering

3. Over Me

4. Never Too Late

5. When the Truth Comes Out

6. Paradise

7. Tell Me Again

8. Mattawa

9. Made Your Mind Up

10. In Our Nature

11. In the Darkness

12. You Should Know

13. Tara's Blues

14. Out of the Blue

x

Track List: Palace Of Gold

1. Palace Of Gold

3. Homeward Bound Angel

4. Bulletproof

5. Comet

6. Walk Like You Don't Mind

7. Love Never Lies

8. Stage Door

9. Cause For Sympathy

10. What A Surprise

11. Clearer View

12. Glad To Be Alive

13. Find A Way To Say Goodbye

14. Tell Me Baby

x

Track List: Tremolo

1. Moon & Tree

2. Shed My Skin

3. No Miracle, No Dazzle

4. Falling Down Blue

5. I Could Never Be That Man

6. Beautiful Blue

7. Fallen From Grace

8. Me & Baz

9. Disappear

10. It Could Happen To You

11. Dragging On

12. Brother Andre's Heart

13. Frogs' Lullaby

14. Graveyard

x

Track List: Nowhere To Here

1. Save Myself

2. Girl In Green

3. What You Want

4. Side Of The Road

5. Better Off As We Are

6. Sky

7. Brown-Eyed Dog

8. Blew It Again

9. Get Through To You

10. Armour

11. Train

12. Flaming Bed

x

Track List: Five Days in July

1. 5 Days In May

2. Hasn't Hit Me Yet

3. Bad Timing

4. Cynthia

5. Photograph

6. What Is This Love

7. English Bay

8. Head Over Heels

9. Til I Gain Control Again

10. Dark Angel

11. Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream

x

Track List: Lost Together

1. Fools Like You

2. Rain Down On Me

3. Restless

4. Western Skies

5. The Big Push

6. Willin' Fool

7. Already Gone

8. Flying

9. Lost Together

10. Where Are You Now

11. Last To Know

12. Is It You

13. Angels

x

Track List: Casino

1. Til I Am Myself Again

2. What Am I Doing Here

5. Last Laugh

6. Trust Yourself

7. Two Tongues

8. Time

9. After The Rain

10. You're Everywhere

x

Track List: Outskirts

1. Heart Like Mine

2. Rose Coloured Glasses

3. Rebel

4. Joker's Wild

5. Piranha Pool

6. Outskirts

7. Underground

8. 5 Will Get You Six

9. Try

10. Floating

Comments

Report as inappropriate
flippercarso n
Who writes this tripe?? I love Blue Rodeo, but Stephen Harper was an excellent Prime Minister who governed the country well for many years. Leave politics out of my music please.
Report as inappropriate
birdsense2
heartbreakin g , heartshaking vocals, arrangements , lyrics, the works. the very top of music today, yesterday and tomorrow
Report as inappropriate
I wish they'd make a return visit to Chicago
Report as inappropriate
A song I find myself drifting into.
Report as inappropriate
I LOVE this music!
Report as inappropriate
Dan Wrenn - I don't know, Dan, but I really love that album, although reportedly Keelor does not like it. I listen to that album as much as I do anything by Blue Rodeo, but I love all their music. I think they are a vastly underrated band, especially on the American side of the border, and that is a rotten shame in my opinion. I had to laugh at the comment by ukeegotsurf because Blue Rodeo is much more than a country band, in fact, I would not consider them county at all, but so much more!
Report as inappropriate
lynntom95
Get a couple of Rickenbacker 12's, and do some covers.
Report as inappropriate
why dont they have days in between on here?
Report as inappropriate
rjwat
This band will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame on April 1st, 2012. Great job guys!
Report as inappropriate
ukeegotsurf
I don't like country music, but after driving in a car with 5 people who do for 9 hours, I got used to some country. Now I am addicted to 5 Days of May. But that doesn't mean that I've been converted people!
Report as inappropriate
serianmaiden
love this band cannot get enough!!
Report as inappropriate
craigpeterlo w
Blue Rodeo - Great music!
Report as inappropriate
can't believe how the sound of this band will instantly make me nostalgic for Canada and for growing up in the 90's. their new stuff is also great. feel so lucky to have the gift of their songs, and to have seen them live a few times in Halifax and Toronto.
Report as inappropriate
jaremko
I totally don't get 'Similar Artists' being Counting Crows (??) or the Wallflowers! Don't let that dissuade anyone. Great band!! And agreed, Jim Cuddy's voice is amazing.
Report as inappropriate
I like these guys a lot! Pandora made another great choice!
Report as inappropriate
mtarziers
Been a fan since 1987's Diamond mine when they were touring the back country bars of Ontario. Supreme musicians and Jim Cuddy's voice is Ab fab!
Report as inappropriate
I've only seen them once, but it was fantastic. It was probably 1990 and I'd never heard of them at the time. They were performing at the college I was attending (in NEBRASKA no less), opening for Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. I was hooked from the word go. They played "After the Rain" and I stood in the audience and cried - it was so beautiful. I would love to see them again.
Report as inappropriate
Excellent band. See them live once or twice a year for the past five years. The only band my wife and I can agree on! :)
Report as inappropriate
greatnorther n r r
I've only been following The Rodeo since 1998, I had to move to Detroit where they tour with new albums before I got a chance to see them. We go everytime they are in town (once or twice a year) and have gone to Windsor, Ont. to see them in their element. We have become devotees of these guys, great live shows. Really good fan base, seems like half of Canada is at the shows in Detroit.
Report as inappropriate
ewlance
BR always delivers a fantastic show. I can't say this about many. Rockin' live act. A thinking person's "feel good" band. Consistantly great songwriting. Don't miss them. Take a vacation to Toronto if you have to.
Report as inappropriate
gridley4
I saw Blue Rodeo back in 1992, when they were the opening band for Sarah Maclachlan in Buffalo, New York. I followed them until about 1995, then moved 'downstate' and lost track of them. It was so refreshing to hear them today! I'm definitely checking out the 'Greatest Hits' CD for purchase.
Report as inappropriate
lol unknown.... but not one that i prefer. meh oh well

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