T.O. Music Notes: Steel Away
By Tim Perlich
October 21 – 27, 1999
Blue Rodeo’s sudden split with long-time pedal steel guitarist Kim Deschamps, while recording their forthcoming The Days In Between album, comes as a bit of a shock.
However, the surprise has less to do with the fact that the tasteful contributions of Deschamps were considered so crucial to the Blue Rodeo sound as to render him irreplaceable than with Blue Rodeo’s outward appearance of being one big happy family.
According to Blue Rodeo manager Sue DeCartier, it was just time to move on. The group will be auditioning former Wilco sideman Bob Egan during a short U.S. tour next month that includes a date at Buffalo’s Tralfamador Theatre Novemeber 12.
And Egan has joined the band at New Orleans’ Kingsway Studio, where he’s helping to finish the new disc, slated for an early 2000 release.
“Everyone in the band loved playing with Kim,” insists DeCartier, ”but after eight years, they decided it was time to try adding some different textures to their sound. They realized that while mixing the new album in New Orleans.”
Rumblings that things weren’t quite so rosy with Deschamps began at last year’s Stardust Picnic – he abruptly left the Fort York stage in a huff when members of the Cowboy Junkies, Deschamps former employer, were called up to join Blue Rodeo.
Still, Deschamps claims he had no forewarning when he was summoned to a band meeting October 6 that it would be his last.
“We’d just done a big photo shoot a couple of days before,” chuckles Deschamps uneasily from his Hamilton home, “so it was definitely unexpected. My guess was that we’d discuss my future with the band, not that there wasn’t one.”
“People thought I was a member of Blue Rodeo, but they didn’t. I was just hired help, and that’s the way it stayed. I just got paid for the work I did, and in years when there wasn’t much work my income would decrease dramatically.”
“I’ve spent some time this past year knocking on foreign doors. There was a week in Austin and I’m doing a session in Nashville next month. Maybe they had a problem with that, but I had to try to pick up what I could because Blue Rodeo had become a part time job for me.”
“This whole thing could work out for the best. I’ve been trying to motivate myself to do more television and film work as well as devote more time to my own recordings, so this might be the perfect opportunity.”
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