Sometimes, check that – most times, a music concert turns into noise at one point in the show.
There is always those one or two tunes the musicians love playing but the crowd doesn’t know very well. Or – the crowd loves the tune and it just does not parlay nicely from the studio to the stage.
The Jim Cuddy Band / one half of the Blue Rodeo songwriting tandem / Barney Bentall and Jim Cuddy’s two sons do not have that trouble.
The elder Cuddy was in town Friday night at the Corona Theater supporting his new album Constellations. Jim is towing Barney Bentall , his two boys and The Jim Cuddy band across Canada. Towing may be a bad choice of a word because the supporting players are in no way broken down. The entire cast are on the same page and that page is songwriting for the right reasons.
Bentall kicked things off with a short and sweet set. Setting the musical table for Cuddy’s family dinner.
While I was Waiting, Where You Gonna Run, Lonely When You Leave, Constellations, Cold Cold Wind and All I Need from The Jim Cuddy Band’s disc opened and closed the unknown section of the Cuddy supermarket. Familiar sounding Blue Rodeo tunes without Greg Keelor. A combination of Jim’s voice and songwriting could very well be on a Blue Rodeo disc. Nothing new but ineffably borrowed from Blue Rodeo.
Happy-go-lucky tunes bordering on Country with teary eyed ( where is the Kleenex?) ballads grabbing the mostly older audience by the neck and never letting go. Cuddy possesses that boy- next- door all Canadian guy persona and it’s hard not to like the guy. EH? Energetic songs with an equally energized supporting cast make The Jim Cuddy Band into a long Blue Rodeo song. A good thing.
Barney Bentall came and went adding his own tunes as did sons Devin and Sam Polley.
Polley displaying his songs from his first EP ( Surrender and Rude Girl) with an adequate voice and lots of passion. Both tunes upbeat and bordering on Rock n Roll. Devin ( on piano) played a cover and an original. Maggie’s Hardware Store and Radio. Devin gravitating toward the kitchen party atmosphere on the former and his own songwriting talent and piano playing on the latter. Devin possessing keener vocals than his brother but in fairness, Devin has been doing this longer. Dad Jim has four reasons to be proud of his sons.
The supporting players made everything magical.
Bazil Donovan (bass), Colin Cripps (guitar), Anne Lindsay (violin), Steve O’Connor (keys) and drummer Joel Anderson did not need Jim Cuddy. The chemistry and dynamics were ear popping. Anne Lindsay on violin effectuating guitar parts for The Blue Rodeo ‘covers’ with intensity rarely seen in these parts. Rarely seen in any parts.
Bentall returned for his own song Don’t Wait For Me Marie, a showstopper ( according to Jim’s Mom) and Come Back To Me. Dressed like Gord Downie and with the same type of facial structure and hat – Bentall was ghostly in appearance but not in voice. Bentall one of this Country’s great songwriters and somewhat of a ‘cult’ figure.
The evening contained The Blue Rodeo hits. Five Days in May, Til I Am Myself Again and It Could Happen To You. All of them sounding just like Blue Rodeo which must make an absent Greg Keelor nervous. Capping off an evening that contained no noise – only songs.
Close to one big singalong.
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Thursday 7 – 10 pm on Rock FM.ca as I play Music That Matters