Jim Cuddy Q&A

This year marks Blue Rodeo’s 25th anniversary. To celebrate, they’re releasing In Our Nature next month—their first studio album since 2009. It carries on in the band’s country rock tradition, the same sound that has boosted their record sales to more than 4 million and earned them 11 Juno awards. Guitarist and vocalist Jim Cuddy sat down to chat with up!

Can you tell me about recording the new album?

We made 90 per cent of the record at Greg’s [Keelor, Cuddy’s fellow frontman] farm studio, outside of Toronto. His studio is very rustic. We recorded all of us in separate bedrooms. It was a very unique experience and we ended up with a warm and rural character to the record. It ended up being part Neil Young, part Fleetwood Mac and part David Crosby harmonies.

Let’s say I was replacing you in Blue Rodeo; what advice would you give me?

I’d say you’d better batten the hatches. There are a lot of eccentricities in the band. Have a tough skin because people will comically take a few layers off. Be prepared to work hard; we have very high standards. And, well, you’re going to have fun.

How have you all stayed together for so long?

For the longest time in a band you can sweep a lot of tensions under the carpet because there are good things happening and you’re drinking. To achieve some longevity, you have to face each other and figure out how to speak to each other.

Do you think the band will still be together in another 25 years?

We’re going to be very old. Fifteen years is more realistic. I think as long as no one’s felled by some horrendous disease, there’s no reason we wouldn’t continue, because this is what we want to do.

What will Blue Rodeo be remembered for?

We came along in the late ’80s, when radio was full of hard rock, like Van Halen. But then Canadians started to embrace their own music and, all of a sudden, Blue Rodeo had a song that was everywhere. I’m very proud that we helped stitch together the cultural fabric of music in this country. And that’s enough.

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