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Cody Canada

Some Old, Some New, Maybe a Cover or Two – 2013 (Underground Sound)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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Former Cross Canadian Ragweed front man Cody Canada kicks off this solo effort with the disclaimer that "the last time I recorded anything acoustic was when Napster was legal the first time" and asks his audience to bear with him. He then proceeds to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable mix of originals and covers in this two-disc set. Canada does almost as much talking as singing, telling stories and giving background to many of the tunes.

Canada revisits many of his Ragweed compositions, including 17 and 51 Pieces in which the rambling monologues detailing their origination take up far more time than the songs themselves - clocking in at more than 11 and 13 minutes respectively, while keeping his audience engaged and entertained. With his prelude to Down, Canada reveals that the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Okla. in 1999 ("it was the scariest thing ever, and I am an Okie") motivated him and his wife to move to Texas.

More recent material from his current band Cody Canada and the Departed is represented with the original Cold Hard Fact and the J.J. Cale cover If You're Ever In Oklahoma from the album "This Is Indian Land." Other impressive covers are Neil Young's Harvest Moon and Peter Rowan's Ruby Ridge. Canada ends the set with an effective rendition of the George Strait hit Unwound as he credits Strait with being "the one that really electrified me" and started him on his path into country music.

The only collaborators to join Canada on stage are his young sons Willy (150,000 Things) and Dierks (Bluebonnets) who add pleasing youthful vocals. With his Cross Canadian Ragweed work, Canada established himself as a premier country-rocker. This 104-minute live set reveals that Canada can be equally effective as an acoustic singer-songwriter.