Blue Rodeo: Biography
From left: Bazil Donovan, Greg Keelor, James Gray, Jim Cuddy, Kim Deschamps & Glenn Milchem
The members of Blue Rodeo over the years and their talents:
Blue Rodeo is a rock band who were formed in Toronto in 1984 by by songwriters Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor. Previously this Toronto-based band began as The HiFis when Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor were in high school. They moved to New York City in 1981 where they tried to get a record deal. After three years they returned to Toronto, unsuccessful.
The pair then began to recruit other members to form Blue Rodeo: they knew drummer Cleave Anderson, he knew bassist Bazil Donovan, and self-taught pianist Bobby Wiseman was the younger brother of Howard Wiseman with whom they shared a flat with in New York City.
In 1985 they soon began playing around Toronto and established themselves as a live act who could draw sell-out crowds. They became regulars at The Horseshoe, a local club in the city. Their debut album, Outskirts, was released in 1987 on Warner Music Canada.
After the release of their second album, Diamond Mine, in December 1988, the group's reputation spread south of the border. In 1989 they played at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland as part of a European tour with Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. During this period, the group were selected by actress Meryl Streep and music director Howard Shore to play her back-up band in a climatic scene from the Columbia film Postcards From the Edge. The group was honored as Best Group of the Year in 1990 and 1991 at the Juno Awards.
Their fourth album, Lost Together came out in 1992, and it was at this time the band went through two major personnel changes. Wiseman left to be replaced by James Gray and Mark French (who replaced Anderson in 1989) by Glenn Milchem, ex-Change of Heart. Kim Deschamps also joined the group during this period.
In 1993 their fifth album, Five Days In July was released by Warner. The first single was "Five Days in May".
- Cleave Anderson - Drums (replaced by Mark French)
- Jim Cuddy - Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, Bongos, Piano
- Kim Deschamps - Pedal Steel, Lap Steel, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Dobro, Bottleneck Guitar
- Bazil Donovan - Bass, Bongos, Upright Bass, Guitar
- Mark French - Drums (replaced by Glenn Milchem)
- James Gray - Keyboards, Accordian, Guitorgan, Guitar
- Greg Keelor - Vocals, Guitars, Bongos, Drums
- Glenn Milchem - Drums, Guitar, Percussion
- Bobby Wiseman - Piano, Organ, Acetone, Bongos, Accordian, Grinder, Harmonica (replaced by James Gray)
- Enclyclopedia of Music In Canada, Second Editon. Edited by Helmut Kallmann & Giles Potvin. University of Toronto Press, Canada, 1992.
- Jackson, Rick. Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock, Pop & Folk Music. Quarry Press, Inc., Ontario, Canada, 1994.
- Melhuish, Martin. Oh What A Feeling: A Vital History of Canadian Music. Quarry Press, Inc., Ontario, Canada, 1996.
The Solo Works
Note:Picture above taken from CANOE's Jam Music: Blue Rodeo Archive