Last Sunday night my wife and I went to see
Blue Rodeo in concert at the Calgary Jubilee Auditorium. It was a great show
filled with new music from the 1000 Arms
album and old music from just about every one of their 15 studio albums. This
is a band that has been playing since 1984 – 33 years ago. The entire band is
precise, talented, and professional. Jim Cuddy could be called Canada’s
Gentleman Musician, humble – giving each person in the band their fair share of
the stage lights. He and Greg Keelor have made a great team over the years with
each of them contributing their unique fingerprint to the band craft. They are
like a finely aged bottle of wine that finds flavour from each of its
components. I am sad to see that Greg Keelor can no longer play electric guitar
on stage. He has hearing deficits which mean that the band must rely on
relative newcomer Colin Cripps to play the blistering licks such as those at
the end of “5 Days in May.” But Cripps is phenomenal and contributes much
instrumentally and vocally. Their keyboardist, Mike Boguski
is a tremendous player and makes the most of all those Hammond B and keyboard sounds. Glenn Milchem on drums, and Bazil Donovan on bass (vocals on one encore song – Little Old Wine-Drinker Me) fill out the rest of the incredible sound.
Jim Cuddy is sometimes melancholy as he
considers his future and the future of the band. In an interview with The
Star.com, given a few years ago, he lamented growing older and said, “The
thought of turning 60 scares me more than anything else ever has before.”[1]
Now at 61, he has surpassed that barrier and has perhaps grown accustomed to
it. Seeing his energy, hearing his amazing vocals, and his continually growing
guitar skills, one would be hard-pressed to guess that he is 61 years old. He
still is one of the greatest gifts of music Canada has ever seen.