Blue Rodeo in concert, February 28, 2010 in Whistler, British Columbia
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Labels||WEA, Warner Music Group, Rounder|
Blue Rodeo is a Canadian country rock band formed in 1984 in Toronto, Ontario. They have released 15 full-length studio albums, four live recordings, one greatest hits album, and two video/DVDs, along with multiple solo albums, side projects, and collaborations.
High school friends Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor began playing music professionally together after completing university. They put together several bands without commercial success in the late 1970s, releasing a single as Hi-Fi's in 1980.
Cuddy and Keelor moved to New York City in the early 1980s to further their music careers. There they met keyboardist and fellow Canadian Bob Wiseman, who was at that time working as a producer. Upon returning to Toronto in the summer of 1984, the trio decided to form a band. The name "Blue Rodeo" had already been chosen for the new group when they met former David Wilcox drummer Cleave Anderson and asked him to join. Anderson in turn recommended his former bandmate in The Sharks, bassist Basil Donovan, and the new band's lineup was essentially set. In 1985 Blue Rodeo played their first show together at The Rivoli in Toronto; one week later, they performed at Handsome Ned's "Honky Tonk Heart".
The band quickly earned a following in Toronto and was subsequently signed to Canadian independent record label Risque Disque. They entered the studio in 1986 with Rush producer Terry Brown and recorded several songs that would comprise Blue Rodeo's debut album, Outskirts. Released in March, 1987, Outskirts met with moderate success in Canada, until "Try" was released as a single in October of that year. The single was an immediate hit, going to number one on the RPM Country Tracks chart and number six on the RPM Top Singles chart, establishing Blue Rodeo as one of Canada's top new bands and carrying Outskirts to 4× Platinum status in sales. The music video for the single featured Keelor's then-girlfriend Michelle McAdorey, who would soon enjoy success with her own band Crash Vegas.
Cuddy, Keelor, Donovan and Cripps have all released solo albums, and Glenn Milchem performs his own solo music under the pseudonym "the swallows". Keelor has also gone on to produce for other artists, notably alt-country group Cuff the Duke, who have also toured as support for Blue Rodeo.
Blue Rodeo members have collaborated extensively with other notable Canadian artists, including Sarah McLachlan, The Tragically Hip, Burton Cummings, Great Big Sea, Jann Arden, The Sadies, Skydiggers, Cuff the Duke, Crash Vegas, Cowboy Junkies, Sarah Harmer, Jill Barber, and Kathleen Edwards. They have won many Canadian music awards, including seven Juno Awards and seven SOCAN awards.
On June 16, 2009, it was announced that the band would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. The induction ceremony was held on September 12, 2009. They are the fifth band to receive the honour.
Blue Rodeo was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 41st Juno Awards on April 1, 2012, joining other Canadian music icons including Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, The Band, Oscar Peterson, Bruce Cockburn, Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray and Tom Cochrane.
According to CARAS, on selecting Blue Rodeo as the 2012 inductees, "Spanning nearly three decades, Blue Rodeo has sold in excess of four million records and won an unprecedented 11 JUNO Awards, establishing themselves as one of the premier groups in Canadian music history."
In May 2014, the band received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts. At the Gala honouring GGPAA recipients on May 10, the band delivered the evening's surprise finale.
On August 5, 2013, former keyboard player James Gray died as the result of a heart attack. He was 52 years old.
In September 2015, Blue Rodeo released the protest song and video "Stealin All My Dreams" which "chronicle the failings of the current government", referring to the government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
As part of their 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2004, the "original five" line up of Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, Bazil Donovan, Bob Wiseman and Cleave Anderson reunited for a live performance of five songs: Heart Like Mine, Try, Diamond Mine, Love and Understanding, and Til I Am Myself Again. The set is included on the DVD In Stereovision: Blue Rodeo.
On Canada Day 2008, Blue Rodeo played on Parliament Hill. The band closed the show before the commencement of the fireworks and was joined on stage by several other artists to perform "Lost Together". On November 28, 2009 the band performed at half-time of the 97th Grey Cup. The band also performed live concerts for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
On July 1, 2011, Blue Rodeo performed at Trafalgar Square as part of the Canada Day in London celebrations.
Blue Rodeo performed at their induction to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame during the Juno Awards of 2012 at Scotiabank Place in the community of Kanata in Ottawa, Ontario on Sunday April 1, 2012. They took the stage with long-time friend and collaborator Sarah McLachlan and performed their 1992 hit single, "Lost Together". As the performance ended, the audience rose for a spirited standing ovation recognizing Blue Rodeo as "one of Canada's true musical treasures".