Blue Rodeo, Cuddy and Keelor

When I started to take an interest in bass, among the first half-dozen bass players I could really hear well was the rich Fender tone of Blue Rodeo’s Bazil Donovan. I thought his catchy line on “Diamond Mine” was rather cool even if repetitive. It is easily recognizable even today. A nicely simple yet profound piece of bass musicality.

Blue Rodeo’s music has a great lasting quality to it which has allowed it to be introduced to new audiences. The music is very uniquely Canadian with a mix of many great influences. You can put any album from Blue Rodeo on and hear rock with bits of country, or country with bits of rock.

When you review the amazing back catalogue of the band, you see a tremendous growth among musicians as players and performers.

The most major component of what makes up Blue Rodeo’s music is the partnership between Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor. These two are Canada’s equivalent of Lennon and McCartney. Like the brilliant two Beatles, Cuddy and Keelor have written great music together and on their own. The music is a great foundation for the stories that they tell through their words.

My personal favourite record “The Days In Between” came out at a time when I was working very much just to getting towards the weekend. The title track references the idea of just getting through a week then reflecting on things while attempting to rest and re-charge.

Much of the album has stories which at the time I easily related to. Driving late night on the highway between Calgary and Canmore ( Canmore is currently known as the land of several thousand bunnies) when I was splitting my time between both places.  Songs were about the very real and prevalent pursuits of love and the reflection of losses of friendships doomed to fail.

It also introduced me to the case of Steven Truscott, who was wrongfully convicted of a homicide in 1959. Truscott was finally released from prison in 2007 when his conviction was turned into an acquittal.

Surely a few Beatles fans will challenge me on the idea that I should not be drawing comparisons to Lennon and McCartney. Perhaps those fans are right. I believe very much though that Jim and Greg’s music probably could have a wide-reaching span if they wanted it to.

But it’s not necessary to their survival or a dire requirement to ensuring Blue Rodeo’s existence keeps well beyond my lifetime. Hopefully they will continue to write and tell stories about themselves, and about things everyone can relate to, or moments in history worthy of learning.


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