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Blue Rodeo Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

Blue Rodeo

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Album Review

In the liner notes for Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, Loftus Cuddy (guitarist/co-frontman Jim's brother) admits that the selection for a hits compilation for a band whose catalog is as massive and filled with possibilities as Blue Rodeo's is a difficult proposition unto itself. That being said, Greatest Hits is exactly what it claims to be: it has the singles, the hits that have made Blue Rodeo the best band in Canada. Try," "Diamond Mine," "Bad Timing," "Till I Am Myself Again," "Lost Together," and "Hasn't Hit Me Yet" are all here, and the list goes on. And for an introduction to the band, Greatest Hits is a great summation of their first 15 years of work. What Greatest Hits is not, unfortunately, is the best of Blue Rodeo. Albums like Nowhere to Here and Tremolo are given shockingly short shrift, given they are part of BR's creative peak (forming a jaw-dropping trilogy with Five Days in July). The Days in Between is left out altogether and there are even some notable absences among the singles ("Rebel," "Rain Down on Me"). There are two new tracks — a raucous Greg Keelor cover of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" (which has become a concert staple) and a redo of Cuddy's "After the Rain" (originally from Casino). Again, this is a fantastic introduction to the first 15 years of the band that virtually invented alt-country all on its own, and it certainly lives up to its title of Greatest Hits. With any luck, there will soon be another collection released titled "The Best of Blue Rodeo" that will showcase the brave experimentalism and genre-bending mastery that have made this Canadian band the legends they genuinely are.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Canada's most popular roots rock band, Blue Rodeo, became a veritable institution in their home country, although they never quite moved beyond cult status in the U.S. Their sound was a basic blend of country, folk, and rock, but with a definite pop appeal that underlined their devotion to later-period Beatles, in addition to expected touchstones like Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, and the Band. Consistency was the hallmark of Blue Rodeo's output, both in terms of sound (which followed much the same blueprint...
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