Last Sunday night my wife and I went to see Blue Rodeo in concert at the Calgary Jubilee Auditorium. It was a great show filled with new music from the 1000 Arms album and old music from just about every one of their 15 studio albums. This is a band that has been playing since 1984 – 33 years ago. The entire band is precise, talented, and professional. Jim Cuddy could be called Canada’s Gentleman Musician, humble – giving each person in the band their fair share of the stage lights. He and Greg Keelor have made a great team over the years with each of them contributing their unique fingerprint to the band craft. They are like a finely aged bottle of wine that finds flavour from each of its components. I am sad to see that Greg Keelor can no longer play electric guitar on stage. He has hearing deficits which mean that the band must rely on relative newcomer Colin Cripps to play the blistering licks such as those at the end of “5 Days in May.” But Cripps is phenomenal and contributes much instrumentally and vocally. Their keyboardist, Mike Boguski is a tremendous player and makes the most of all those Hammond B and keyboard sounds. Glenn Milchem on drums, and Bazil Donovan on bass (vocals on one encore song - Little Old Wine-Drinker Me) fill out the rest of the incredible sound.
Jim Cuddy is sometimes melancholy as he considers his future and the future of the band. In an interview with The Star.com, given a few years ago, he lamented growing older and said, “The thought of turning 60 scares me more than anything else ever has before." Now at 61, he has surpassed that barrier and has perhaps grown accustomed to it. Seeing his energy, hearing his amazing vocals, and his continually growing guitar skills, one would be hard-pressed to guess that he is 61 years old. He still is one of the greatest gifts of music Canada has ever seen.