Covid Music: Lost Together

Lost Together, Blue Rodeo

VITAL INFO: DETAILS:
Writer: Jim Cuddy / Greeg Keelor
Recorded: 1992
Released: 1992
Album: Lost Together
Producer: Blue Rodeo and Peter Doell
Sales/Chart: Album: 2x Platinum, #3 peak position
Additional Musicians: Bob Wiseman, Glenn Milchem, Kim Deschamps

 

What This Song Means To Me:

Blue Rodeo is a Canadian band and got their start in Toronto after lead members Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy (a pair a friend once called Canada’s Lennon & McCartney) spent some time in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Today, I describe their style of music as ‘perfectly playable campfire tunes’. Other sites called them ‘rock band’, ‘country’ and so on. Songs like ‘Try’, ‘5 Days in May’, ‘Til I Am Myself Again’ and ‘Hasn’t Hit Me Yet’ all rank up there bands like the Eagles, Beatles and others that made a collection of great strumming tunes.

I admire them for cutting a line between several different genres when everyone and their brother (or sister) were hammering out soon-to-be-forgotten synth tunes or ram-chord metal, especially during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Their first song Try was a massive hit and drove them further than most other Canadian bands ever go. With fifteen albums under their belts, millions in sales and an ongoing legacy of classic harmonies between Keelor and Cuddy, their fate seems sealed.

Here’s what Macleans had to say about them:

These days, we take Blue Rodeo for granted: they’re cozy and reliable. It’s easy to forget what an anomaly they were in the ’80s, sounding the way bands like Wilco and My Morning Jacket do now. It was a time when no one came to country music from the “other” side of the tracks (i.e. Queen Street West clubs), when there was neither a rock band nor a country act in the world with a wild-card improvisational keyboardist like Bob Wiseman, when even the true believers of rock’n’roll fell victim to distracting production tricks in the studio—including a young Blue Rodeo.

Some critics feel Lost Together was not as strong as their previous two albums, but as their fourth album, it set them on a path and differentiated them from a raft of other Cancon bands during that time.

That fall (1992) was the first and only time I’ve seen Blue Rodeo live. It was with friends Steve and Sylvia and a few others at Centrepointe Theatre in Nepean, Ontario. What I remember best about that show is a then-little known band called Big Sugar opened for them. The guitarist – Gordie Johnson – was ready to show off his skills!

Later on, in 2010, we went to Hawaii with some fine people that we’re fortunate to call good friends. Don and I would lie on the grass, look at the stars and sing this tune together. A few glasses of wine may have been involved. We still get on the phone once in a while and the tune comes up and we sing it together … not well, but with a lot of fondness.

Lost Together is the last album that Bobby Wiseman (keyboards) would be on. Their next album, Five Days in July, would be released just a year later and would be a very different, stripped down sound compared to Lost Together. It’s amazing the impact that one person / performer can have on the overall sound, but the band survived the roster change.

It’s a regular in my collection of guitar songs  that I practice and maybe if you get a chance to visit us (or we come to you), I’ll play it with some good friends when we’re together again after being lost for so many weeks.

Covid Context:

There’s no doubt in my mind that Lost Together is a very clear, runaway ‘hit’ that captures the mood of everyone during the early days of Covid isolation.

Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy nailed it with this CBC-spoonsored ‘Great Canadian Sing Along’ video celebrating all of the essential workers out there:

As I said, they were the first to come out with a Covid-related video, with the first effort being just Keelor and students from Fleming College doing a collaboration and they hit it out of the park.

Additional Context:

Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor talk about Lost Together in this CBCMusic interview:

Here’s a video with Canada’s Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip and another from Sarah McLachlan.

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