Monday, May 25, 2009

Recommended Canadian Content of the Week: Blue Rodeo

Several weeks ago I took Gabe to San Francisco to participate with his t-ball team in a "Little League Day" at AT&T Park. Claire had the great idea of Gabe and I driving up Saturday and staying at a hotel so we could get to AT&T Park early Sunday morning for the Q&A with Giants coaches and players. (And then return in the early afternoon to sit in the bleachers with his team for the game.) It was a weekend of firsts for Gabe: riding in a "subway" (the Muni Metro), riding on a cable car, going to the top of a skyscaper, walking through Chinatown, going across the Golden Gate Bridge. Hopefully some of it made some lasting memories.

Driving home after the game Sunday, Gabe fell asleep (and slept all the way home—he was exhausted after a couple long, busy days). I didn't want to listen to my usual podcasts and risk waking him up (as I did on the way up Saturday), so I set my 5-star music playlist to shuffle. I enjoyed listening to a subset of my favorite music, something I don't make time to do very often.

I was struck by how much of it is Canadian. So I came up with an idea for a series of blog posts, each describing a favorite Canadian band or artist. My idea was to do this weekly, but since it has taken me weeks to finish writing up this first post, don't expect them that often. I'll do what I can.

Several of the tracks that played during my drive were by Blue Rodeo, and I've since noticed that there are more songs by them in my 5-star music playlist (13) than any other group or artist. (Runners-up are The Beatles and Louis Armstrong with 9, and R.E.M. with 8.)

I remember first noticing Blue Rodeo when Much Music took a liking to them after they released their first album Outskirts over 20 years ago. Their album with the most songs I've rated 5-stars (5) is Five Days in July, but I've over-listened to that album and need to leave it alone for a few years before I can enjoy it again.

If you buy only one song of theirs, I (currently) recommend Bulletproof from Palace of Gold. But I also recommend...

From Tremolo:
From The Days In Between:
(I'm a sucker for ballads.)


Ian said...

The outro to Rain Down on Me is a deeply inspired bit of guitar playing for sure.

yacitus said...

Thanks for the comment Ian.

I wouldn't have (and didn't) single that song out, but I'm glad that you did. I certainly can't disagree.

Ian said...

If you haven't yet, check out Blackie & the Rodeo Kings. Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and Tom Wilson -- it's about as close as you'll get to alt-country super group in Canada. Absolutely amazing everything (vocals, harmonies, guitars especially). I'd start with their Kings of Love double disc set.

yacitus said...

Blackie & The Rodeo Kings' "Kings of Love" is $19.99 on iTunes (, $15.99 on Amazon ( and it has 3 5-star ratings there). I'm going with Amazon (as soon as I'm home since the Amazon MP3 Downloader doesn't work behind the firewall at work).

Thanks for the recommendation.

Ian said...

If you're a Guitar Player reader/subscriber Stephen Fearing got a two page spread in this months' issue (the one with Mastadon on the's that for juxtaposition?). He and Colin Linden are a huge guitar force to reckon with. I can't believe that Kings of Love only has 3.5 stars on Amazon -- critics know nothing. :)

yacitus said...

Kings of Love gets 5 stars on the US Amazon (3 ratings—each 5 stars). I'm finally downloading it. Who knows, perhaps someday I'll feature Blackie & The Rodeo Kings as my RCCotW.