Blackie and the Rodeo Kings 25th Anniversary Tourwww.blackieandtherodeokings.com/
The pandemic emerged as Blackie and The Rodeo Kings marked their 25th anniversary as a band with the release of King of This Town. They plan to pick up right where they left off, writing and releasing more music and hitting the performance stage as often as possible.
Originally, Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson came together to record what was supposed to be a one-off tribute album to the great Canadian songwriter Willie P. Bennett. The result was High or Hurtin’: The Songs of Willie P. Bennett. The band had no plans to make a subsequent album but something unanticipated happened.
“When we play together and sing together as Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Something magical happens. We haven’t asked ourselves what it is all these years and we’re not going to start now” as Stephen Fearing describes it.
Recognizing this special chemistry and the resulting joy of creating music together has brought Blackie and The Rodeo Kings back to stage and studio again and again. King of This Town is the band’s ninth release. “After each album, we are never certain we will get together to make another, but then something will happen and we are reminded of the joyride that is Blackie,” explains Tom Wilson.
Twenty-five years in, while they still spend most of each year working on their individual projects, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings has organically evolved into one of the finest roots-oriented bands in North America.
Tom Wilson sums up the Blackie and The Rodeo Kings journey.
“25 years later, we’re still digging in for the sweet spots. Making friends with the ghosts of poets and harmonizing with the voices in fields and swinging for the fences”
Including every Blackie and The Rodeo Kings album, Colin Linden has produced over 100 albums. He has played as a guest musician on countless recording sessions. There are 159 pages of album credits that feature Colin Linden contributions listed at the collector site discogs.com He has played an integral role in the contributing songs and music direction to film and television. Colin served as the musical director for the live touring the cast of Nashville that featured the stellar Blackie and The Rodeo Kings rhythm section of John Dymond (bass) and Gary Craig (drums). His latest solo work was actual a duo release with Luther Dickenson entitled “Amour” on Stony Plain Records. Colin lives in Nashville.
Stephen Fearing has been doing what he does best – Travelling. In 2016, Fearing moved back to Victoria BC where his career began on the West Coast in 1988 with the release of “Out To Sea”.
Aside from moving across the country, has been a busy year with solo shows across Canada and quietly building a solid following in Europe and The UK. He has completed his 13th solo album “The Unconquerable Past”
Last year Tom Wilson released his 4th album under his nom de plume LEE HARVEY OSMOND. The Album titled Mohawk references his journey and the story of his best selling memoir “Beautiful Scars” (Penguin Random House). He is focused on a follow up book and painting for his next art show.
Digging Roots are a Juno-winning husband and wife music duo, Raven Kanatakta Polson-Lahache and Sho-Shona Kish, whose style blends folk-rock, pop, blues and hip hop with the traditional sounds of Indigenous music. Digging Roots has collaborated with Indigenous music giants like A Tribe Called Red, Kinnie Starr, and Tanya Tagaq.
Sho-Shona is Anishinabe, from Batchewana First Nation, but grew up mostly in Toronto. Raven is Anishinabe and Mohawk, from Winneway, Quebec, a small reserve where “everyone knows your name”. Raven and Sho-Shona both ended up in Ottawa, where they met in 2004. Raven’s family relocated to Canada’s capital city when he was 14, and Sho-Shona moved there for school.
A friend tuned Raven on to a new musician in town, Sho-Shona, and suggested they meet. Raven looked her up on one of his visits home, and the two hit it off right away. After talking for hours, he accompanied her to an audition she had for a slot in a music festival. They spontaneously decided to audition as a duo and booked the slot, planting the seed that would grow into Digging Roots.
They came from different backgrounds, but as Indigenous people, they both had experienced the common oppression and systemic racism in some way or another, which is reflected in their music. And, they fell in love. Two years later, they released their debut album, Seeds. The following year they won the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Group. Their second album, We Are, won the Juno Award for Aboriginal Album of the Year in 2010. The duo released a third album in 2014, For the Light, and are preparing to release their newest album, The Hunter & The Healer, on which their oldest son, Skye, plays the drums.
Having both been raised by activist parents at a time when Indigenous activism was on the rise, their music explores and raises awareness of the social injustices that still exist today. “Our activism is kind of in the way that we live, more than anything. It’s built on how we live as a family,” says Raven.
“Walking gently on the earth and being very mindful of the kind of parents we are. And looking at what seeds we’re planting for the future. That to me is the most powerful activism,” Sho-Shona adds. Raven and Sho-Shona live in Barrie, Ontario with their two sons.