Jim Cuddy to Play Kelowna Tomorrow!


Jim Cuddy, along with the other members of Blue Rodeo, will soon be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

It would be pretty hard to fault the co-founder of legendary Canadian roots band Blue Rodeo for hogging his better song ideas just for his solo records.
But Jim Cuddy, who co-wrote (with Greg Keelor) iconic songs like Try, Bad Timing, Five Days in May and Hasn’t Hit Me Yet, said he has an easy way to keep that from happening.
“I write specifically for whatever project is at hand,” he said from his Toronto home. “I don’t ever want to be accused, or make the band uncomfortable that I’m saving songs, or selecting songs that might be more appropriate for the band.
“So I don’t write for myself at all until Blue Rodeo’s done and we’re onto something else.”
Speaking with eVent the day after it was announced that he and the other members of Blue Rodeo would be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as part of the Juno Awards on Apr. 1, Cuddy reflected on what the accolade means to him.
“I never even though we’d end up doing it full-time,” he said.
“I think that those were the two junctures that have surprised me most. When I could give up my (day) job and now getting inducted into the hall of fame.”
Taking a short break from a tour that will see him play the Kelowna Community Theatre on Jan. 10, Cuddy was at ease discussing the process that resulted in his third solo album, the outstanding Skyscraper Soul.
Following a pattern he fell into after his first solo record, 1998’s All In Time, Cuddy got to work writing and recording his latest record in the winter of 2011 following a long Blue Rodeo tour.
But it started out a little differently this time, because of some music he wrote for a project by his wife, filmmaker Rena Polley. A song from the film, titled Water’s Running High, formed the seed, and Skyscraper Soul grew from there.
Written and recorded at the band’s own studio in downtown Toronto, the Woodshed, Cuddy said the sessions were comfortable experiences, even though he preferred the discipline of working at it on a regular schedule.
“I have to do it like a job,” he said. “I would go from my house into the studio and lick the doors for a few hours and just try to come up with stuff. I tried to do it five days a week and take the weekend off.
“I need secluded time and I need consecutive days and then I can do it,” he continued. “If I have day here and a day there, I lose the thread.”
A remarkably even album, Skyscraper Soul has been receiving good reviews for it’s rootsy sound. And even though Cuddy’s songs and vocals bear his unmistakable imprint, he manages to weave a sound uniquely his own, rather than merely another Blue Rodeo record with different musicians.
For all the expected country feel to it, it’s also anything but a “country’ record in the usual sense of country music. In fact, as you might suspect from the title, it reveals Cuddy to be more at home in an urban setting, at least musically.
“Life can he hard, I know,
I got a skyscraper soul.
There’s mud in my veins and there’s steel in my bones,
Skyscraper soul . . . ” he sings on the title ballad that opens the album.
The CD contains an appealing mix of influences and blend of catchy pop-inflected numbers. Example include the upbeat Regular Days, written about his marriage, and the Brit-pop tinged Don’t Know That Much.
A true Canadian, right down to his huge love of hockey, Cuddy has carved out an admirable career, largely north of the U.S. border. Since forming in 1984 in the heart of the downtown Toronto post-punk Queen Street West art scene by Cuddy, Keelor and bass player Bazil Donovan, Blue Rodeo has sold some four million records over the course of more than a dozen studio releases.
But the guy who lent his voice to so many of those memorable hits said that instead of looking south of the border to measure his musical accomplishments, he’s quite happy with what he’s done close to home.
“All the time we’ve spent in the States, there was
always this underlying criticism that we were an unfocused band,” he said. “They said there should be one singer, there should be one style and that’s never come up in Canada . . . it’s never been an issue.
“Really, I think we were nurtured and we stayed where we should have stayed,” he added. “We were lucky to have been in Canada because this is the right place for us.”
Supporting his solo release, Cuddy has been on the road with his regular touring band. Comprised of guitarist Colin Cripps, who co-produced the CD with Cuddy and Chris Shreenan-Dyck, along with drummer Joel Anderson, keyboard player Steve O’Connor, violinist Anne Lindsay and (Blue Rodeo) bassist Bazil Donovan, it’s essentially the same band that’s on the record.
“I work with very seasoned musicians,” he said of his group. “And they’re people that I’ve worked with a long time, so they don’t require a lot of guidance. There’s a lot of communication that’s built up over 13 years.”

Who: The Jim Cuddy Band in concert, with special guest Doug Paisley
Where: Kelowna Community Theatre, 1375 Water St.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 10, doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $63.50, Available at ticketmaster.com or by calling

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