November 28, 2004

SJP


Artist: Blue Rodeo




Jim Cuddy (lead vocals, guitar)
Greg Keelor (lead vocals, guitar)
Cleave Anderson (drums)
Bazil Donovan (bass)
Bob Wiseman (keyboards)
Mark French (drums) [replaced Anderson in 1989]
Glenn Milchem (drums) [replaced French in 1991]
Kim Deschamps (pedal steel) [joined in 1992]
James Gray (keyboards) [replaced Wiseman in 1992]

The two founding members and principal songwriters of Toronto's Blue Rodeo, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, met in high school but didn't get together to form a band until they were done university; their first combined musical effort was the Hi Fi's in 1977. They started writing original material immediately and had an independent single out within six months.

Nothing much was happening for them, however, so in 1981 they moved to New York City, as much for a change of pace as for the music scene there. They put together a band called Fly To France by putting ads in the Village Voice, and played all types of music everywhere they could. Their manager didn't quite seem to know what he was doing and then disappeared, they sent out endless packages to record labels, and pestered every promo rep they could get a lead to but again nothing much happened. They decided to sit down and record a bunch of songs from beginning to end. They got New Zealand band the Drongoes to help them, recorded four songs, then returned to Toronto in 1984 and began shopping the demo.

While looking for a deal they had a band name already picked out and decided to put that band together. They bumped into their friend Cleave Anderson (Battered Wives, The Sharks), who agreed to join; Anderson suggested that his friend Bazil Donovan complete the lineup and Blue Rodeo was born. Their first gig was at the Rivoli on Queen Street in Toronto in February of 1985.

Prairie Oyster manager and owner of the Risque Disque label, John Caton, became interested in the band and they struck a management/recording deal with him. He introduced Blue Rodeo to his friend, producer Terry Brown (Rush, Klaatu, Cutting Crew), who agreed to work with the band. Recording with Brown over a year and a half, his production of their first album seemed only natural, and in January of 1987 they struck a worldwide label/production deal with WEA Music of Canada. 'Outskirts' was released later that year and produced a country-wide hit with "Try".

The album eventually went on to sell well over double platinum in Canada (200,000 copies). Touring the clubs across Canada and opening for the likes of k.d. lang, they quickly became known for their lively and entertaining stage manner and their quirky brand of countrified rock.

Their second album, 'Diamond Mine', released in 1989 and produced by Malcolm Burn, sold quickly, and Blue Rodeo were well on their way to becoming a real Canadian success story. They began receiving Junos that year, and have continued to do so consistently ever since. Anderson, however, decided to retire from the business and return to his day job as a letter carrier (but is currently still playing in various bands including a variation of The Viletones), so Mark French was brought on board.

A U.S. break of sorts came when Meryl Streep's chauffeur played the band's music for her while driving her to New England to shoot a movie; the result of this fortuitous incident was Blue Rodeo's appearance in the hit movie Postcards From The Edge, which they filmed in late 1989 in L.A. They returned home, however, to find that health and financial problems forced Caton's retirement from the business and the closure of Risque Disque. Forced to regroup, Warner Music Canada took over the band's contract and they signed with Los Angeles manager Danny Goldberg (Bonnie Raitt, Alannah Myles).

For their third album, Cuddy and Keelor recruited the talents of American producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam, Michelle Shocked), and the results were 'Casino' in 1990. Touted to be the album to break the band south of the border, the album received strong critical praise in the US but they still had trouble reaching the American audiences. They had no trouble in Canada, however, with sales quickly reaching platinum in no time.

In 1991 they returned to the studio, beefing up their sound and style to reflect more of the noisier music that was popular at the time, and 'Lost Together' (1992) shows a tougher, harder sound for them. Self-produced, it received some of their strongest critical acclaim, and earned yet more Junos for them. It was around this time that Wiseman decided to pursue a solo career, so Kim Deschamps (Cowboy Junkies) and James Gray (Cowboy Junkies, Vital Sines) were recruited to fill his prodigious shoes. French also left the fold, so Glenn Milchem (Vital Sines, Soho 69) came on board. Tours of the North American continent established them as household names in Canada, and yet they still had trouble breaking into the United States.

Changing tactics completely, the band went to Keelor's farm with a mobile recording studio in the summer of 1993, and had the entire band record at the same time. Stripping down to a more acoustic sound, 'Five Days In July' started out as a special for the CBC's Ear To The Ground television show, and quickly became a full-fledged album. Although receiving some of their most rave reviews in Canada, and despite selling out venue after venue on their cross country tours, success in the US continued to elude them, and a label change was made there.

'Nowhere To Here', released in 1995, saw yet a different side of Blue Rodeo emerge. Again receiving strong critical praise, the band went into a more eclectic, semi-psychedelic direction. Consistent touring in Canada in 1996 helped to keep their name in the collective conscience.

The reviews for 1997's 'Tremolo' were mixed at best, and although not touring as much as they used to, their occasional gigs are still filled with their loud, loyal fans.




Singles
1987 Try (Risque Disque)
1988 Day After Day (Risque Disque)
1988 Rebel (Risque Disque)
1989 How Long (Risque Disque)
1989 Diamond Mine (Risque Disque)
1989 House Of Dreams (Risque Disque)
1990 Love And Understanding (Warner Music)
1991 Trust Yourself (Warner Music)
1991 Till I Am Myself Again (Warner Music)
1991 What Am I Doin' Here (Warner Music)
1991 After The Rain (Warner Music)
1992 Lost Together (Warner Music)
1992 Rain Down On Me (Warner Music)
1993 Angels (Warner Music)
1993 Flying (Warner Music)
1993 Already Gone (Warner Music)
1993 Five Days In May (Warner Music)
1994 Hasn't Hit Me Yet (Warner Music)
1994 Bad Timing (Warner Music)
1995 Save Myself (Warner Music)
1997 It Could Happen To You (Warner Music)
1998 Shed My Skin (Warner Music)
1998 Falling Down Blue (Warner Music)
1999 Somebody Waits
2000 Always Getting Better
2001 Sad Nights
2002 Bulletproof
2002 Walk Like You Don't Mind
2003 Stage Door
2003 Palace of Gold
2005 Rena
2005 Are You Ready
2005 Can't Help Wondering Why
2007 Four Strong Winds
2007 C'mon
2007 3 Hours Away
2008 This Town
2008 Losin' You
2009 All The Things That Are Left Behind
2010 Never Look Back
2010 One Light Left in Heaven

Albums
1987 Outskirts (Risque Disque/Warner Music)
1989 Diamond Mine (Risque Disque/Warner Music)
1990 Casino (Warner Music)
1992 Lost Together (Warner Music)
1993 Five Days In July (Warner Music)
1995 Nowhere To Here (Warner Music)
1997 Tremolo (Warner Music)
1999 Just Like A Vacation (live) (Warner Music)
2000 The Days In Between (Warner Music)
2001 Greatest Hits (Warner Music)
2002 Palace Of Gold (Warner Music)
2005 Are You Ready (Warner Music)
2006 Blue Rodeo Live In Stratford (Warner Music)
2007 Small Miracles (Warner Music)
2008 Blue Road (Warner Music)
2009 The Things We Left Behind (Warner Music)

Video


Compilation Tracks






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