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Blue Rodeo’s roots can be traced to the late 1970s, when singer/songwriters Jim Cuddy and Greg Keeler (along with bassist Malcolm Schell and drummer Jimmy Sublett) formed a power pop band in Toronto called the Hi-Fi’s. The group issued one single on the Showtime label, but broke up in 1981. Cuddy and Keeler spent the next three years in New York City in a group called Fly to France; this band recorded four demos, including the future Blue Rodeo hits “Try” and “Outskirts”. Upon returning to Toronto in 1984, Cuddy and Keeler recruited keyboard player Bobby Wiseman, bassist Basil Donovan and drummer Cleave Anderson for a new group they called Blue Rodeo. The band debuted under this name in 1985, and played regular shows in Toronto before expanding their concert base across the country.
The band was signed to Risque Disque in 1986, and their debut album Outskirts included the song “Try”, which became a major Canadian pop and country hit. Between 1986 and 2002, Blue Rodeo issued one live album (1994’s Five Days in July), as well as nine studio albums. In 1990, Blue Rodeo appeared in the film Postcards from the Edge.
There have been several changes in the band’s lineup over the years. In 1989, Mark French replaced drummer Anderson, and three years later Glenn Milchem became the drummer. In 1992, Wiseman left and was replaced by Kim Deschamps; he, in turn, was replaced by James Gray, who was then replaced by Bob Packwood, and then Mike Boguski. In 2013 Colin Cripps joined the band as a full member. In addition to their work in Blue Rodeo, both Cuddy and Keeler have released solo albums. On August 5, 2013, James Gray suffered a fatal heart attack.
Blue Rodeo has won numerous industry awards, including JUNOs and SOCANs. In 2012 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In 2014, they were honored with Canada's highest honour in the performing arts – the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
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