By Ryan Laverty
For many bands, the release of a greatest hits album would be cause for celebration. But for Toronto’s country-rock band, Blue Rodeo, it’s not of great concern. In fact, according to lead singer Jim Cuddy, things not having to do directly with
the music aren’t thought of much at all.
"It’s a funny thing with this band. We don’t celebrate the milestones you’d think we’d celebrate," explains Cuddy. "Take our 10th anniversary, [for example]. Our first gig was February 7, 1985, so February 7, 1995, I went down to Queen’s Street and had a drink in the bar where we played."
"I ran into a few of the other band members and they were completely unaware that that was the day. When they were told, it was just ‘Wow. Okay. Are you going to go see Keith Whitaker tonight?’"
The road to the greatest hits has been a well travelled one for the group, and while he explains the group’s lack of interest in the newest CD–if you can call it that–he is quick to defend their lack of commemoration.
"This is a band so afraid of vanity and a band so afraid of meaningless triumphs that we don’t celebrate anything," elucidates Cuddy. "But that’s not to say we haven’t been completely giddily excited by some of the things that have happened
For Cuddy and Co., it’s the music itself that excites and invigorates. The pride from both putting together a new album and seeing immediate results is the greatest reward they cherish most.
"We were never really motivated to do a greatest hits [album]. It was something that was proposed by the record company," said Cuddy. "For us there were a couple of motivations. With the advent of the internet, it’s kind of the last chance to do a greatest hits and pick it yourself. The second is to try out new things that maybe we can carry forward to our next album."
The tour for the Greatest Hits Vol. I–which will be released Oct. 2–will be quite a bit shorter and a lot more informal than what the band is used to. Playing campuses and bars across Canada, Blue Rodeo will try adding horns to their already unique sound. "Playing venues like these are a welcome challenge for us," explains Cuddy. "Sometimes we set these limitations. We’re used to bigger stages, and we want to see if we can cram down onto these stages. We want to hear the blast of the horns and try to work out what its going to be like to have the horns play with our band."
The addition of horns and strings is a possibility for the band’s next album, which will go into production shortly after the current tour ends. Die-hard Blue Rodeo fans should take solace knowing there is nothing too off the wall on the new release.
"We’re only using four horns and the string section is just violins. They’re kind of like background vocals," explained Cuddy of the new musical additions. "But, we’re not going jazzy. It will be more like Isaac Hayes meets the Burrito Brothers meets Burt Bacharat. It won’t be all that we do, but it will be some of what we do."