Posted by Anna Lazowski, SCENE Producer | Wednesday January 16, 2013
Blue Rodeo are celebrating 25 years in the music business with a tour. (Heather Pollock)
Blue Rodeo is playing in Winnipeg as part of their 25th anniversary tour.
With a career nearly three decades long, the Ontario band has sold more than four million records and won 11 JUNO awards. In April of 2012, Blue Rodeo was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
With such a long musical legacy, SCENE decided to ask some local musicians about their musical memories of this legendary Canadian band.
Rusty Matyas of Waking Eyes and Imaginary Cities recalls a time he ended up onstage with Blue Rodeo.
Rusty Matyas of Imaginary Cities (March Ash)
"A few years back I played with the Weakerthans, opening for Blue Rodeo at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. During their encore we went back onstage and sang "Lost Together" for the big finale," he says.
"It was such a wonderful and memorable moment, getting to sing one of my favourite Blue Rodeo songs, WITH Blue Rodeo! Looking out and seeing the entire crowd joining in on one of the greatest all time 'singalong' choruses was amazing, and I'll never forget it!"
"Perhaps the best part was Greg Smith (Weakerthans bass player and all around beauty guy) air-bassing to the song onstage," Matyas recalls.
Don Amero's fourth full-length album, Heart on my Sleeve, earned the singer a trophy for Male Entertainer of the Year at the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards.
Singer Don Amero (Scott Senior)
He's a huge Blue Rodeo fan and remembers when he first discovered the band. "I started listening to them in high school. It was about 1997 and I remember being stuck on their album Five Days in July for quite a long time," he says.
"I am not a cover song guy, but there are two songs I do most nights when I play: Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" and Blue Rodeo's "Try." I feel like those two songs may be my favourite by Canadian artists," Amero says.
And while he hasn't been in the music business quite as long as Blue Rodeo, Amero finds great inspiration in vocalist Jim Cuddy. "He sings just as well as he did, if not better, now than when he was in his 20s."
Julie Penner is a violinist who has played with The Hylozoists, The Fembots, Do Make Say Think, Broken Social Scene and many others. She remembers the first time she heard Blue Rodeo in concert.
Julie Penner onstage with Broken Social Scene (Alex McKnight)
"It was 1990. I was 14 years old and I went to the Winnipeg Folk Festival for the first time without my parents. I went with my best friend Fleur. Blue Rodeo was on the main stage and I was mesmerized by the keyboard player who I later learned was (Winnipegger) Bob Wiseman."
For Penner, watching Wiseman perform on that stage was a truly dynamic moment. "Anyone who saw Bob with Blue Rodeo knows how distinctive he was onstage, with his hair and fingers flying. Bob Wiseman was - and still is - an incredibly dynamic and creative performer. A lightning storm sprang up, and the images and music went well together. But it was late and Fleur and I ran to catch the last transit bus back to the city."
And while Penner has played with many, many Canadian artists, she's happy to say that years after seeing him at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, she also ended up playing violin in Bob Wiseman's band.