Wednesday, August 13th, 2003
As much as it pains me to admit it, sometimes my parents have good ideas. My mom calls me this evening and suggests that, instead of going out and buying a replacement bike, I just come home and get the bike I have at home and used all through university? I had not wanted to bring that one into the city because it’s old, banged up and I wanted to get something new and shiny. And we all know how that turned out. I had completely forgotten about this other bike, and while my knee jerk reaction was to dismiss her idea, sadly, it’s a good one. I don’t need to spend the money on a new old bike considering I’m moving in a few weeks and will have no shortage of medium-to-large ticket purchases to make, and I have the very definition of ‘beater’ in my basement. It’s still a servicable bike, I think. A Peugeot racing bike I got way back in high school, and which needs no small amount of work to get back into road shape, but that’ll still be cheaper than getting a new bike. So I guess I’ll head home on Friday and pick it up, drop it off at a shop to get fixed up and go with that for the rest of the Summer and Fall, anyway. Maybe in the Spring I’ll go for another bike, but not right now. Thanks, mom.
I happened to catch a Blue Rodeo special whilst channel surfing during dinner. It was the band, set up in a barn, running through their catalog with a handful of guest singers. Seeing Sarah Harmer singing “Five Days In May” was magnificent – I’d forgotten how much I loved this band when I was younger. I literally wore out my cassette of Diamond Mine in the summer of 93. Lost Together was the first cassette I saved up for and bought brand new. Their June 1993 show at the Oakville Waterfront Festival, which was really my first rock concert, was the night that my first band came together. An omen? Not really, we played like three shows and fell apart at the end of high school, but still. It was a damned rocking show.
I guess you could say that when most teens were pledging their Can-rock allegiance to the Hip, I went with Blue Rodeo. Like I said last week when I went on about Neil Young, Blue Rodeo was pretty formative for me, musically-speaking, as well. The country influence is pretty obvious, but they could also rock out pretty well when they wanted and above all, they wrote pop tunes. I tended toward the Greg Keelor end of things, given as he was to the more atonal and sonically adventurous songs, but never at the cost of the song (or almost never).
I don’t think it’s very hip to like Blue Rodeo these days, given that they’re pretty much a Canadian institution by now and are pretty ‘safe’, but they’re not without indie cachet. Keelor produced the last Sadies record, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett made appearances on Jim Cuddy’s solo record, current Rodeo pedal steel player Bob Egan was Wilco’s touring steel guitarist for the Being There tour, and ex-keyboardist Bob Wiseman now plays in The Hidden Cameras. Hell, there’s not much that separates them from any other alt.country act besides the fact that they’ve sold a lot of records. Fuck the hipsters, I love Blue Rodeo.