Something really special is coming Augusta’s way for the very first time.
It’s a band from Toronto called Blue Rodeo, and it’s opening a Westobou concert for Rosanne Cash at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, on the parade grounds of the Old Richmond Academy building in the 500 block of Telfair Street.
You don’t want to miss this band, which is being presented by the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival.
Blue Rodeo performs before huge crowds in America and is regarded as a national treasure in Canada .
Augusta will be only the second Georgia appearance in the band’s career.
It has performed in Atlanta and other large Southern cities.
Blue Rodeo is popular with online music fans – its song Bad Timing has more than 800,000 hits, and its Five Days in May video has more than 500,000 hits.
The band consists of rhythm guitarists Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, bass player Bazil Donovan, drummer Glenn Milchem and multi-instrumentalist Bob Egan (formerly of the band Wilco).
Their Augusta concert also will include keyboardist Michael Boguski and guitarists Colin Cripps and Wayne Petti.
The band’s current album, its 12th studio effort, is The Things We Left Behind, and Cuddy has his next solo CD, Skyscraper Soul, coming out in a week.
Cuddy and Keelor met in high school but didn’t form their first band, Hi-Fi’s, until after college in 1978.
They formed the pop-country-rock band Blue Rodeo in the summer of 1984, with Donovan also as an original member.
“Greg and I lived in New York City from 1981 to 1984,” said Cuddy in a call from Toronto. “We spent three years chasing down recording contracts. It was a waste of time.
“We were never committed to playing a certain style to be accepted. We didn’t do that out of rebellion. It’s just that we could never change being us.”
In 1984, Cuddy and Keelor started rounding up members for what became Blue Rodeo and started writing songs that would fit the sound they wanted.
That basically was a blend of country rock groups, such as Sweethearts of the Rodeo and The Byrds, and of British bands they liked growing up, plus psychedelic musical influences.
While the band’s music is a mixture of all that, Cuddy feels it really is a unique creation of the Canadians.
“I think most people in the United States feel Canadian bands like us play American music, but we don’t feel that way,” he said.
“It is our own take on the lyrics. We feel like we are playing our brand of music that’s available to the world.
“I don’t think it matters to the rest of the world that we want our music to be known as Canadian, but it does to us. We’re such a small nation with our own unique musicians.”
In March 2008, Blue Rodeo performed for Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan.
“It was an amazing revelation to us that these are just a bunch of kids doing a job,” Cuddy said. “We gained a lot of insight and support for our people over there.
‘‘It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the reason why they are over there.
“Everyone needs to do the right thing by them.”