Volume 92, Issue 48
Friday, November 27, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Jim Cuddy band bangs softly
Gazette file photo
By Clare Elias
"It's just like sinkin' sand," strummed Jim Cuddy at The Drink on Wednesday night.
These few simple words evoked the image of that evening's performance. Singing to a partially devoted crowd of Blue Rodeo and Cuddy groupies, his words and music sank beneath The Drink's floors and took the heart and soul of the The Jim Cuddy Band with it.
The band, mimicking a lot of Blue Rodeo's style, is a Canadian ensemble which combines country, rock and pop enveloped in classic lyrical themes of fear, heartache and love. Cuddy's main career is as one half of one of Canada's best songwriting teams and this solo side project gives him an outlet to vent and experiment outside of his primary endeavour.
With this band, Cuddy builds upon the same philosophy of Blue Rodeo and establishes a group who relishes in playing live by lapping up the sweaty stream of lights. However, this pure enjoyment was only minutely felt amidst the level and open space of the venue.
The Jim Cuddy Band, composed of guitarist Colin Cripps, bassist Bazil Donovan and drummer Gavin Brown, began their set with songs off their latest release All in Time, performing numbers like "Sinking like Sand" and "Disappointment." Upclose listeners were enthrallingly swept away by Cuddy's charm and reverence for storytelling as he related the history behind his songs, such as his daughter's fears of the night. These simplistic lyrics and styles have become the foundation for Cuddy and his band.
He continued in his comfortable style with the audience, acquired, of course, through many years touring with Blue Rodeo. In classic Cuddy style, he slid into "Five Days in May" with cool serenity, while tucking "Bad Timing" into the latter half of the set with heartaching vocals. The Jim Cuddy Band, however, disappointedly did not perform "Try," which was a defining song for Cuddy from his early Blue Rodeo days.
Although the performance was short, it was sweetened by the awesome vocals and instruments, including an incredible violin solo. However, the reception would have been stellar had the venue been filled with admiring fans sitting upon chairs with drinks upon the tables, instead of noisy bystanders more intent upon chatting and drinking beer than appreciating the music.
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