What's in the Case?
Jim Cuddy’s blue western shirt: On display is the western dress shirt worn by singer Jim Cuddy. This was Jim’s first California ranch shirt and was the start of his discovery and love for the well-made vintage embroidered shirts.
Greg Keelor’s Gretsch guitar: This guitar is something that for years has been a part of the Blue Rodeo sound for years. Keelor liked to keep the guitar just on the edge of feedback, producing the sound of Blue Rodeo.
Kim Cuddy’s harmonica: Jim Cuddy first used this harmonica in the recording of 5 Days in May (October 1993) and the instrument has since became a staple when he is in studio or on the Massey Hall stage.
Guitar strap: This guitar strap represents a fan near and dear to the band. Miriam “Mimi” Braidberg beaded this strap, and both Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor possessed one. Mimi was a fan and long-time supporter of Blue Rodeo. She was a restaurateur and had a kiosk in the horseshoe tavern where the band often performed.
Blue Rodeo and Massey Hall
Blue Rodeo have the distinction of playing Massey Hall more than any other rock band in it’s history — approaching 60 times and counting!
In author David McPherson’s book, Massey Hall (Dundurn Publishing, 2021) Jim Cuddy says, “It takes a long time to play Massey Hall properly. If you just play like you are in a bar, it is really too loud and the dynamics are flat. It is so ambient and sonically perfect. You just have to play quietly and play loud and learn how to work the dynamics. That took us ten years.”
Bandmate Greg Keelor adds, “Massey Hall is just one of those places. It raises your game; your genes vibrate at a different level and you feel the presence of all the great artists that have performed there on that old stage.”
The bands infamous album Blue Rodeo, Live at Massey Hall (Warner Music Canada, 2015) was recorded in 2014 during their tour for the album In Our Nature (Warner Music Canada, 2013).
In the 35 years since forming, Blue Rodeo have sold over 4 million albums, received dozens of JUNO Award nominations and wins, played over 2,000 shows, been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, been named to the Order of Canada and have been honoured with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.
The band emerged in the early 80’s as a countrified rock band in the era of hair metal and glossy pop. Despite sticking out like a sore thumb (or maybe because of it), their single “Try” became omni-present on radio across Canada and set in motion a three decade long career of headlining every club, theatre and arena in Canada. In 1993, when grunge rock was squeezing commercial rock off the radio, they recorded their most acoustic album, Five Days In July, and scored their biggest hit selling over a half million copies of that one record alone.