Clockwise, from bottom left: Glenn Milchem, James Gray, Kim Deschamps, Greg Keelor, Bazil Donovan & Jim Cuddy
Outskirts (1987) Blue Rodeo's debut album, this is one of their best. Not a boring one among the bunch. With wonderful tracks like "Joker's Wild", "Five Will Get You Six", "Heart Like Mine" and "Piranha Pool", which are all my favourite. This album has an eighties feel which is kinda cool, from the photo on the front cover to the music to Greg's political lyrics on "Piranha Pool" and "Outskirts". There's also a neat poem at the end of the lyrics and a monologue by Greg (I assume) on the song "Floating", which I've included in the webpage. One of the reasons "Piranha Pool" is one of my favourites is because of the jazzy feel, mostly thanks to Bobby Wiseman's cool melodic piano playing.
Diamond Mine (1989) Another one of their best, with almost every song a keeper. Greg writes more political songs like "God and Country", "Love and Understanding", "Nice Try" and "Fuse". Even if other people don't think they're political, you've got to admit they all have a message. Jim does another emotional love song like "Try" only this one is called "Girl Of Mine". That's the one exception to the good songs on this album. "House of Dreams" is better than his emotional songs but still somewhat soppy. My favourites on this album are "Diamond Mine", "Nice Try", "Now and Forever" and "How Long", with good strong lyrics and wonderful music. One of Jim's songs has a message, "How Long" which is cool. It's a really good song, too.
Casino (1990) A very good album, with my personal favourites "Til I Am Myself Again", "Trust Yourself", "Last Laugh" and "What Am I Doing Here". As always good lyrics and memorable, wonderful music. Greg does a really country sounding song with his voice all twangy, "You're Everywhere" which is neat. Jim does another emotional love song, "After the Rain" which is better than his other love songs. Greg gets a little angry on one song, "Two Tongues", and I quote, "You're a freaked out flathead hollow-eyed bad hallucination", now is that strong or isn't it? Greg also does a love song called "5 A.M. (A Love Song)". This isn't the first love song he's done, "Rose-Coloured Glasses" from Outskirts was also one. So occasionally his songs don't have messages.
Lost Together (1992) My favourite songs on this album are "Lost Together" and "Flying" with their great videos and wonderful music. One thing about this album is the fact that Bobby Wiseman plays piano on the album, but the music videos for "Rain Down On Me" and "Flying" show James Gray playing piano. This is because by the time they made the videos Bobby had already left so they used James Gray whom they had hired to go on tour with them. Greg writes another political song, "Fool's Like You", which deals with the Native American Indian cause, and I quote "stop stealing the Indian land".
Five Days In July (1993) This album is when Greg entered his dreamy phase, with such jewels as "Dark Angel", "What Is This Love" and "Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream". Sarah McLaclan's beautiful voice helps out Greg on all those songs above, and wow, do they sound good together! My absolute favourite song on this album is "Five Days In May" from the beautiful lyrics to the wonderful guitar solo, the melodic piano playing and the cool harmonica sound, everything about the song is fantastic. Those who heard the song on the radio missed out on the guitar solo, but I loved the song even before I got to buy the album and hear the guitar solo, it's just an amazing song. Another wonderful song is "Bad Timing", Greg's harmonies with Jim's voice during the chorus is some of the most beautiful singing I've heard them do together. A really good song is "Cynthia" with Ann Bourne's voice sounding really good singing with Greg and Jim, all three of them singing together at the same time. This also happens during "Tell Me Your Dream" when Sarah McLachlan sings with them, they sound great together. There's also a neat piano solo during "Cynthia". For some reason they do a song by country singer Rodney Crowell, "Til I Gain Control Again". This is the first time I've heard Blue Rodeo do a song by another artist and it hasn't happened since. Since Rodney Crowell is still alive it wasn't in homage or something, also Jim sings the song so it was probably his idea. Maybe they didn't have enough songs to put on the album.
Nowhere to Here (1995) Another dreamy album with such songs as "Save Myself", "Brown-Eyed Dog", "Sky", "Train" and "Flaming Bed", it sounds soft and could almost put you to sleep if you were tired. That's not bad though it's cool. It sorta sounds as if the songs were written while on pot or something. I'm not accusing anyone of anything though, it's just a style. A really good song is "Better Off As We Are" with my favourite lines in it being "My older brother, he left the day he finished school/moved down to New York, Washington Square/He called me up, he said 'You should come see me, we'll watch the waves of people moving everywhere'" Now is that neat or what. I wonder if Jim's brother really said that or if he really moved down to New York? Probably not. "Side of the Road" is one of the best songs on this album, with wonderful singing by Greg and Jim, good lyrics, great guitar, etc, etc. Sarah McLachlan sounds wonderful on this album, very good singing. Addendum: I just read an interview with Greg Keelor, and he says he was smoking a lot of pot when they recorded this album.
Tremolo (1997) One of my favourite songs on this album is "It Could Happen To You", another one is "Falling Down Blue". This is another one of their slow dreamy albums, with Greg doing more of his slow singing style on "Brother Andre's Heart", "Beautiful Blue" and "Frogs' Lullaby". "It Could Happen To You" is one of Jim's best political songs, especially if you've watched the music video, a bunch of homeless kids getting kicked out of an abandoned house. It looks brutal but the music is upbeat. It's sorta strange once you think about it. A really good song is "Moon & Tree" with a good sound and good singing as always, one of my favourites. "Falling Down Blue" is a slow love ballad but it's not another one of Jim's emotional songs, this one is more serious. I've listened to the lyrics a couple of times and it sounds to me like it's about a man whose wife/girlfriend/lover has died, which is really awful and sad. Check out Just Like A Vacation to read what Jim had to say about it.
Just Like A Vacation (1999)
A very good compiliation album, my favourite on this album is "Florida" with Greg doing a monologue before the song about how he wrote it and the circumstances that inspired it, which is hilarious. The song is done is a sorta lounge style, with the band having really good rapport with the audience. It's like really spontaneous and wonderful. The reason I like live albums is you get to see another side of your favourite band and this album is no exception. Most of the songs are good but live albums are more messier than studio albums, that's why live albums have a downside. Some other things that disappointed me was that when Jim sang "Try" his voice sounded a bit strained, maybe he's getting too old to sing it. Also Greg's voice sounded strained when he sang "Diamond Mine", I don't know, I guess they're both getting older. One wonderful thing about this album is for the first time we get to find out how some of these songs got written and what inspired them. That's the wonderful part 'cause I'm always wondering how much a song a songwriter experiences and how much is inspired by what's around them, so this was really a bonus for me. Another cool thing was a 1984 rejection letter from Bob Roper of WEA Music of Canada. It's neat.
All material on the album's web pages is found on the albums, none of the writing is mine.
Various Artists Albums
Oh What A Feeling: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music. This album includes "Try" by Blue Rodeo, plus many other canadian classics. This album is mandatory for anyone who loves music, the fact it's all canadian is a bonus. It was released in 1995. It includes songs both old and new. This album is a four disc set.
Pine Ridge, An Open Letter to Allan Rock - Songs For Leonard Peltier. This benefit release is available in CD and audio cassette at major music stores across Canada or order directly from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committe Canada. This album was released in October 1996 and is a collaborated effort of many original songs from 16 top Canadian musicians, including Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Sarah McLachlan, Bob Wiseman, Ashley MacIsaac, The Tragically Hip, Jane Siberry, The Skydiggers, Michael Ondaatje, and more. The album was created as a direct appeal to Canada's Justice Minister to seek justice for Peltier. LPDC International spokesperson Frank Dreaver's letter to the Justice Minister is in album liner. Proceeds go to support projects for Leonard's freedom.
Blue Rodeo is also featured on the Due South soundtrack album, with the song "Flying" which is from Blue Rodeo's album Lost Together. Other artists featured on this soundtrack are: Sarah McLachlan, Spirit of the West, Figgy Duff, and Holly Cole.