For those who don’t know, the man behind Blue Rodeo for the past 27 years, Jim Cuddy, is from the big city of Toronto, known for its soaring skyscrapers and, until recent history, the world’s largest tower.
It might seem strange that one of Canada’s preeminent country-rock stars hails from the concrete jungle, and yet Cuddy’s latest solo album, Skyscraper Soul (September 2011 Warner Music), is inspired by his home.
It shouldn’t come as a great surprise Cuddy pays tribute to Toronto. After all, it’s where the birth of a music giant took place.
After meeting Greg Keelor in high school, the two would go on to form the band Blue Rodeo in 1984 in Toronto. Twelve studio albums and three million copies sold later, the band is as brand name Canadiana as The Tragically Hip and Great Big Sea, with which Cuddy and Blue Rodeo have both collaborated.
Cuddy’s solo career has been well noted by fans as well, producing three studio albums since 1998, with previous albums, All in Time and The Light That Guides You Home, both going gold.
He was voted fifth on the CBC Radio 2 top 50 artists of 2011 in December, behind only fellow Canadians Sam Roberts, City and Colour, Hey Rosetta, and British superstar Adele.
After all these years, Cuddy shows he can still surprise his fans. The first single off of Skyscraper Soul is an unexpected tribute to the British royals, called Everyone Watched The Wedding.
“I’ve never been much of a royalist but this song is about the royal wedding,” says Cuddy.
“Something about this last wedding got me. When I started reading more about it I realized that there was something about it that is very inspiring.”
That music video is available to see at www.jimcuddy.com.
Cuddy’s touring solo band consists of Hamilton’s Colin Cripps (guitar), Blue Rodeo’s Bazil Donovan (bass), Joel Anderson, Steve O’Connor (piano), Anne Lindsay (fiddle) and a number of Toronto’s top horn players and string players.
The Jim Cuddy band plays at the Clarke Theatre in Mission Sunday, Jan. 8. Tickets are available for $45 at all Ticketmaster locations.