Cody Canada set to play MusicFest, acoustic show |

Cody Canada set to play MusicFest, acoustic show

Audrey Dwyer / For Explore Steamboat

Cody Canada and the Departed are an Americana rock band featured at MusicFest. The annual festival is sold out, but Canada and bandmate Seth James will play a special acoustic show at 9 p.m. Saturday at Carl's Tavern. Tickets are $10.

— At this year's MusicFest, Cody Canada and the Departed have some new surprises for the audience.

The band is scheduled to perform with Kevin Galloway, Jason Eady and Brandon Jenkins on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday during the annual destination festival of Texas and Americana music.

"We have a whole new record to play for these people. We have tightened as a group, which makes us even better as a whole," said Canada, known as the frontman of Cross Canadian Ragweed and now singer/guitarist for his more recent band, Cody Canada and the Departed.

But there's also another surprise in store, and it's not just for the more than 5,000 participants in the sold-out music festival.

Canada's acoustic performance at Carl's Tavern on Saturday, he explained, will have a different vibe compared to the performances planned for MusicFest.

"Acoustic is always different because we play older songs," he said. "There are more choices of music."

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The Carl's Tavern show costs $10 and starts at 9 p.m. with singer-songwriter Pete Stein opening.

In an Explore Steamboat interview with the leader of the rabble-rousing, alt-country act, Canada said he always has been inspired by one of the Red Dirt fathers, Tom Skinner.

"The man can sing a story like you’re sitting on his lap listening to him," Canada said. "Whether funny, sad or sweet, he always tells the truth the way it is."

For Canada, music comes from the heart, and he never falters from following a path of truth within his music.

After a sad goodbye to Cross Canadian Ragweed in 2010, Canada moved forward with his fellow Ragweed band member Jeremy Plato to dive into a new beginning.

The band members of the Departed comprise guitarist and songwriter Seth James, Steve Littleton on keyboard, Dave Bowen as the drummer and Plato on bass.

"The Departed is different than Ragweed; there is a lot more guitar and rock ‘n’ roll," Canada said. "We were all very dedicated and serious about what we do and wanted to take it as far as we can."

Canada recalls that each show holds an unknown outcome. One show in particular, was the Departed's performance at Copper Mountain last summer.

"I didn't know what to expect, and I don't think the people in the crowd did, either," Canada said. "We didn't know what we were getting into, and neither did they. But in the end, everyone was rocking out."

Canada said he never loses concentration within the music or his connection to the audience, even from his early beginning of performing at age 14.

"I was never nervous, even when I was playing at bars when I wasn't even old enough to be in bars," he said. "I was comfortable playing in front of an audience. The more you play and the more people come, they start paying attention."

Performing isn't everything for Canada; family means as much to him as music. This will be his 12th year coming to perform in Steamboat and his fourth year bringing his kids.

"We always have a blast here either tubing or going downtown," he said. "What keeps me going is the fact that I know I'm a musician for a living and my family will always be there," Canada said.

Audrey Dwyer is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. She is working as an intern for Explore Steamboat during school break.

MusicFest free concert schedule

Sunday: Jack Ingram with Ashley Ray opening

Monday: Dirty River Boys and Kyle Park

Tuesday: Midnight River Choir and Turnpike Troubadours

Wednesday: The Washers and Cody Johnson

Shows start at 1 p.m. on the Steamboat Stage in Gondola Square.

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