Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Nov 11th 2009 4:30PM by Steve McLean
Keelor may not have as many followers as the head of the Catholic Church, but Blue Rodeo has enough fans to have sold more than four million albums over its 25-year career. The band will be adding to that grand total with its new double album, 'The Things We Left Behind,' which came out in Canada on Nov. 10 and arrives in US stores in late January.
"We said, 'We have a good collection of songs -- let's not edit ourselves,'" Keelor tells Spinner of their sprawling 15th release. "'Let the songs play out for a change and see what happens.'"
Though 'The Things We Left Behind' is available in various formats, the vinyl version is the favourite of Keelor and co-frontman Jim Cuddy, both of whom grew up admiring vinyl's sonic and visual qualities and loving handsomely packaged double LPs like Bob Dylan's 'Blonde On Blonde,' Jimi Hendrix's 'Electric Ladyland,' Stevie Wonder's 'Songs In The Key Of Life' and the Beatles' 'White Album.'
The other new songs offer Blue Rodeo's usual diversity, including the dramatic opening ballad 'All the Things That Are Left Behind,' the country-ish 'Waiting for the World,' uptempo rocker 'Never Look Back,' the early Wilco-like 'Sheba,' the Skydiggers-referencing 'Arizona Dust' and the sprawling and somewhat psychedelic closer, 'Venus Rising.'
While the familiar Cuddy and Keelor vocals are still one of Blue Rodeo's big selling points, they also brought in Cuff the Duke singer Wayne Petti to provide harmonies on seven new songs.
"When it's just Jim and I doing the backgrounds, I end up getting the good side of that because I get Jim's voice on my songs and he has to put up with my voice on his," says Keelor, with more than a hint of self-deprecation. "So he usually gets pretty pissed off over a couple of songs and ends up doing his own background vocals.
"I thought that Wayne could really do those parts. The way that the timbre meets with the two voices made for a really nice spread," adds Keelor, who also produced the latest Cuff The Duke record, 'Way Down Here.'
Produced by Blue Rodeo and engineered by early 54-40 drummer Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case, the New Pornographers), 'The Things We Left Behind' was mostly recorded at the band's Toronto studio, The Woodshed, with some sessions taking place in Keelor's Lost Cause studio at his farm near Peterborough, Ont. That arrangement let the band work at its own pace without racking up hefty studio rental charges, but Cuddy will likely find his wallet a little lighter for another reason.
"It is very nice to have the two studios and I would have liked to have worked a lot more at my home studio, but Jim got three speeding tickets in one week traveling back and forth," chides Keelor. "I think Jim is capable of doing anything to get his own way, even losing his license, so he could work at the downtown studio, which is, of course, just around the corner from where he lives."
"I got three tickets in three very different spots," Cuddy elaborates. "I was just star-crossed for a week and racked up hundreds of dollars in fines. They're all being fought, with some help, because if they all went through I think my license would be gone.
"Every cop that stopped me was younger than my sons, so I was thinking, 'Get out of here, son. Back away from the car.' I asked this guy to let me off and he said, 'Why should I?' Then he went back to his car and came back and said, 'I knocked it down because of your good driving record.' If he only knew, he would have put the cuffs on me."
Blue Rodeo are playing a Remembrance Day concert in Halifax, followed by five northeastern US shows and then a cross-Canada tour beginning in Victoria on Nov. 24. But have no fear -- Cuddy won't be driving the tour bus.