Bluesfest concert preview: Blue Rodeo back on track

Blue Rodeo performs throughout Fire Aid for Fort McMurray in Edmonton, Alberta, on Wednesday June 29, 2016.


Blue Rodeo

9:30 p.m. Thursday, City Stage, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest

(Also performing in the present day: Naughty By Nature, Lighthouse, The LYNN(e)S, Vanessa Collier, Angelique Francis, the Town Cryers and extra. Go to for particulars)


It’s been a difficult 12 months for Blue Rodeo. The way forward for the Canadian roots-rock band was up within the air for months due to a progressive inner-ear drawback skilled by singer-songwriter Greg Keelor.

For some time, not even co-frontman Jim Cuddy knew what would occur, though he saved busy along with his newest solo album, Constellation, and subsequent tour till the choice was made for Blue Rodeo to deal with a couple of dates. Tonight’s look in Ottawa is the sixth of 10 reveals this summer season — and, by my depend, their 11th time on Bluesfest’s major stage since 2001.

“There was a while that we were done, then we weren’t, then it was limited shows,” Cuddy stated this week. “It was simpler for me as a result of I used to be embarking on a solo tour and that took a number of consideration and vitality so I may simply do this and let all the things lie. 

“It was in all probability the most effective factor,” he provides.”I’m a meddler and a planner, and it was in all probability greatest for me to not be a part of the choice.”

After a while off the street, it appears Keelor’s situation improved sufficient to, first, write and file (he launched a four-song solo EP within the spring) after which ebook some Blue Rodeo reveals. The Bluesfest date was a late-stage addition to the lineup after Shaggy cancelled.

According to Cuddy, the summer season reveals are going effectively, Keelor is doing advantageous and everyone seems to be having fun with the gradual however regular tempo of the itinerary.

“It’s been a difficult year so these summer shows are a great relief because everybody is playing really well,” he says. “There’s a lot of musicianship in the band, and a lot of components are coming together. It feels like a normal summer. If we can do this, we can keep going.”

Part of the cohesion could also be as a result of presence of latest member, Jimmy Bowskill, a twentysomething loaded with pure musical expertise. He performs half time with Blue Rodeo, and likewise has a gradual gig with the Sheepdogs.

Like Neil Young going through off with Willie Nelson’s sons, or Bob Weir jamming with John Mayer in Dead and Company, it’s a case of a younger musician giving new vitality to the old-timers. The youthful enhance is like “getting a new puppy for an old dog,” says Cuddy, who’s filled with admiration for Bowskill’s instrumental skills.

“He can play anything,” he says. “When he picks up a new instrument, he already has an idea of how to play it. It’s a fascinating thing to witness. He plays mandolin, violin and pedal steel with us, and he just took those things up in the last five years. Those are very difficult instruments. So yeah, we thrive off his energy and it’s been good for us.”

At the identical time, the inventive core of the band will at all times be the songwriting workforce of Cuddy and Keelor. Whether or not there’s one other Blue Rodeo album, nevertheless, stays to be seen.

“It’s another thing we’ll have to discuss,” says Cuddy, who will make one other solo album if nothing else. “There is a certain amount of Groundhog Day to what we’ve done. We’ve done a record every two years for 30 years, and there are a lot of different things we could do. Should we make a folk record? A live record? What should we do? I think we need to go through the summer to see where our playing is at, and then decide.”

In the meantime, they’ll be entertaining followers with the identical candy mix of nation and rock that’s made them one among Canada’s most dependable concert sights. Cuddy has a idea on the explanation for his or her enduring attraction.

“I think you have to present something that people can relate to that day, and also something so they can mine their own musical memories,” he says. “If you’ve been around a long time, people are coming to see you because they’ve come before and it’s been a pleasant experience, or they listened with their parents, or they are the parents. I think to have a consistent appeal, you have to make that day different. We’re not satisfied unless every show has felt like, in its own way, a unique experience.”

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