Blue RodeoBlue Rodeo is a Canadian country rock band formed in 1984 in Toronto, Ontario. They have released 15 full-length studio albums, four live recordings, one greatest hits album, and two video/DVDs, along with multiple solo albums, side projects, and collaborations.
FormationsHigh school friends Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor began playing music professionally together after completing university. They put together several bands without commercial success in the late 1970s, releasing a single as Hi-Fi's in 1980.
Cuddy and Keelor moved to New York City in the early 1980s to further their music careers. There they met keyboardist and fellow Canadian Bob Wiseman, who was at that time working as a producer. Upon returning to Toronto in the summer of 1984, the trio decided to form a band. The name "Blue Rodeo" had already been chosen for the new group when they met former David Wilcox drummer Cleave Anderson and asked him to join. Anderson in turn recommended his former bandmate in The Sharks, bassist Bazil Donovan, and the new band's lineup was essentially set. In 1985 Blue Rodeo played their first show together at The Rivoli in Toronto; one week later, they performed at Handsome Ned's "Honky Tonk Heart".
The band quickly earned a following in Toronto and was subsequently signed to Canadian independent record label Risque Disque. They entered the studio in 1986 with Rush producer Terry Brown and recorded several songs that would comprise Blue Rodeo's debut album, Outskirts. Released in March, 1987, Outskirts met with moderate success in Canada, until "Try" was released as a single in October of that year. The single was an immediate hit, going to number one on the RPM Country Tracks chart and number six on the RPM Top Singles chart, establishing Blue Rodeo as one of Canada's top new bands and carrying Outskirts to 4× Platinum status in sales. The music video for the single featured Keelor's then-girlfriend Michelle McAdorey, who soon had success with her own band, Crash Vegas.
In 1992, the band's song After the Rain, written by Cuddy and Keelor, was the most-performed song in Canada. By 1999 the band had sold more than two million albums in Canada.
Cuddy, Keelor, Donovan and Cripps have all released solo albums, and Glenn Milchem performs his own solo music under the pseudonym "the swallows". Keelor has also gone on to produce for other artists, notably alt-country group Cuff the Duke, who have also toured as support for Blue Rodeo.
Blue Rodeo members have collaborated extensively with other notable Canadian artists, including Sarah McLachlan, The Tragically Hip, Burton Cummings, Great Big Sea, Jann Arden, The Sadies, Skydiggers, Cuff the Duke, Crash Vegas, Cowboy Junkies, Sarah Harmer, Jill Barber, and Kathleen Edwards. They have won many Canadian music awards, including twelve Juno Awards and seven SOCAN awards.
On June 16, 2009, it was announced that the band would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. The induction ceremony was held on September 12, 2009. They are the fifth band to receive the honour.
Blue Rodeo was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 41st Juno Awards on April 1, 2012, joining other Canadian music icons including Rush, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, The Band, Oscar Peterson, Bruce Cockburn, Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray and Tom Cochrane. According to CARAS, on selecting Blue Rodeo as the 2012 inductees, "Spanning nearly three decades, Blue Rodeo has sold in excess of four million records and won an unprecedented 11 JUNO Awards, establishing themselves as one of the premier groups in Canadian music history."
In May 2014, the band received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts. At the Gala honouring GGPAA recipients on May 10, the band delivered the evening's surprise finale.
On August 5, 2013, former keyboard player James Gray died as the result of a heart attack. He was 52 years old.
Canadian guitarist Colin Cripps joined Blue Rodeo as a full member in 2013, due to Greg Keelor's inability to play electric guitar live any more, caused by hearing issues.
In September 2015, Blue Rodeo released the protest song and video "Stealin All My Dreams" which "chronicle the failings of the current government", referring to the government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The band is a member of Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.
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Legend = orientation:vertical position:right
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bar:Jim Cuddy from:01/01/1985 till:end color:guitar1 bar:Greg Keelor from:01/01/1985 till:end color:guitar1 bar:Bazil Donovan from:01/01/1985 till:end color:bass bar:Cleave Anderson from:01/01/1985 till:01/01/1990 color:drums bar:Mark French from:01/01/1990 till:31/08/1991 color:drums bar:Glenn Milchem from:01/09/1991 till:end color:drums bar:Bobby Wiseman from:01/01/1985 till:31/12/1992 color:keys bar:James Gray from:01/01/1993 till:31/12/2005 color:keys bar:Bob Packwood from:01/01/2006 till:31/12/2008 color:keys bar:Mike Boguski from:01/01/2009 till:end color:keys bar:Kim Deschamps from:01/01/1992 till:31/12/1999 color:guitar2 bar:Bob Egan from:01/01/2000 till:20/08/2016 color:guitar2 bar:Colin Cripps from:01/01/2013 till:end color:guitar3
Television and film
On August 11, 1988, the band played the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York (a suburb of Buffalo). They were the headliners after a high school battle of the bands competition. The disastrous gig was the inspiration for their 1990 hit, "What Am I Doing Here."
As part of their 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2004, the "original five" line up of Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, Bazil Donovan, Bob Wiseman and Cleave Anderson reunited for a live performance of five songs: Heart Like Mine, Try, Diamond Mine, Love and Understanding, and Til I Am Myself Again. The set is included on the DVD In Stereovision: Blue Rodeo.
On Canada Day 2008, Blue Rodeo played on Parliament Hill. The band closed the show before the commencement of the fireworks and was joined on stage by several other artists to perform "Lost Together". On November 28, 2009 the band performed at half-time of the 97th Grey Cup. The band also performed live concerts for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Cuddy and Keelor performed at the annual Folk on the Rocks music festival in Yellowknife, NT from July 16 to 18, 2010.
On October 19, 2010, Blue Rodeo played the music viral show BalconyTV for a rare acoustic performance on a small Balcony overlooking Dame Street, Dublin.
On July 1, 2011, Blue Rodeo performed at Trafalgar Square as part of the Canada Day in London celebrations.
Blue Rodeo performed at their induction to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame during the Juno Awards of 2012 at Scotiabank Place in the community of Kanata in Ottawa, Ontario on Sunday April 1, 2012. They took the stage with long-time friend and collaborator Sarah McLachlan and performed their 1992 hit single, "Lost Together". As the performance ended, the audience rose for a spirited standing ovation recognizing Blue Rodeo as "one of Canada's true musical treasures".
On January 1, 2017, Blue Rodeo took part in CBC's The Strombo Show's Hip 30, covering "Bobcaygeon".