Ach! We've been long away. And the music's just piling up...
A few years ago, my friend Mike said I should check out this Canuck band, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings. He played me some tracks of theirs and it wasn't just the beer talking. They were good.
I kinda remembered about them when I got home and dl-ed a couple of tunes of theirs from Napster. But you know how it is. They got lost in the shuffle, so to speak.
I re-discovered them a year or two ago on YouTube and featured one of their tunes on my original blog. Lately, I've found a few new-ish ones and I want to give the guys their due: Blackie & The Rodeo Kings might just be the best that Canuck music has to offer right now. And Canuck music has a TON to offer. Too bad they only seem to play about twice a year.
The first video I'm going to post here requires patience on your part. Sorry! The sound is poor for 1:45. Hang in. At that point, you'll start to hear, in crystal-clear tones, their first near-hit, Stoned. If you really listen, you'll hear the birth of an interesting, and darn-near unique sound. (Spare me the hate mail, all you unique-can't-be-modified people.)
As always, turn up your speakers and please, do up your seat belts.
The three frontmen are Tom Wilson (guitar and vocals) Stephen Fearing (ditto) and Colin Linden (lead guitarist/vocals/producer). Each adds an elixir to the brew that adds up to magic.
I had a hard time choosing which vid to show next. I decided on a solo Stephen Fearing job. Partly because it brought up the name of Willie P. Bennett and partly because it's such a nice song and Fearing does a great job. (And shows he's no slouch in the pickin' department.)
Bennett's songs inspired the band, right down to choosing their name. (I'll s'plain in a minute.)
Until then, enjoy Fearing's take on Willie's song. (And wouldn't Nick Cage HAVE to play him in a bio-pic?)
For their final tune, I've chosen a wonderful song via CBC Radio. Featuring another terrific Canuck talent, Serena Ryder, Black Sheep is a standout - pure and simple.
And c'mon, fess up: When Shearing starts to sing his part, don't you hear echoes of Marty Robbins? I sure as heck did. I got shivers.
Now, you devoted folks, all five of you, know that I always stop at three videos. I don't like to tax your patience more than that. I know how precious time is. I hear a clock ticking in every pause.
But what the heck. As a bonus, I'm adding a track by Willie P. Bennet. This is the song from which Blackie & The Rodeo Kings took their name. Those of you who stick around will hear Canada's prairies in Bennett's song. And echoes of Jimmie Rodgers and Boxcar Willie -- 20th century troubadours. But he's as Canadian as Gordon Lightfoot is not Bob Dylan. And he blows a lovely, mournful harp. Godbless him. Mr. Bennett passed in 2008.
Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoyed.
And thanks to highorhurtin, verbverb, skumm60 and cbcradio3 for posting the vids.