Cody Canada, center, says Cross Canadian Ragweed has stayed independent in its 14 years of playing, as the band has used gritty country rock shows to garner support for audiences and a major label.
- Thursday, August 7, 2008, 5:30 p.m.
- Howelsen Hill, 845 Howelsen Parkway, Steamboat Springs
Cross Canadian Ragweed is signed to a label in Nashville, Tenn. But other than having higher-quality press photos than most rollicking red dirt rock bands, there isn't much that ties the band to the glistening world of pop country.
That could be because the band's members, led by the wavy-locked and heavily tattooed Cody Canada, have known one another since kindergarten and have been playing music together since high school.
Asked what he's learned about his bandmates in more than a decade spending just about every waking moment with them on a never-ending tour schedule, Canada responds with a particular descriptive term that's less than gleaming - then he pauses, laughs and proclaims his love for the guys in Cross Canadian Ragweed and the music they play.
On Thursday, the band plays the Free Summer Concert Series, bringing the raucous, country-influenced rock they've brought to Steamboat Springs before with the winter MusicFest. Canada talked to 4 Points about staying true to the band's musical roots through major label deals, sticking to agenda-less music and reaping the benefits of performing with friends.
4 POINTS: In 14 years of playing together, what have you learned about being in this band?
CODY CANADA: What we've all learned is that if you really want to make something work, you have to really work and have fun at it. And it's been a cakewalk. We never had any goals on being big and famous; we just want to play music.
4 POINTS: But you are on a pretty major label. Was that something you ever saw coming?
CC: We never really angled for it. We knew that a few of the labels were looking at it, so we never really searched for it.
4 POINTS: Now that you're on a big label in Nashville, how has it gone? Do you feel like you still have control of the band?
CC: The first couple of years were good, and then the last few haven't been so hot. : The one thing we told them when they signed us is that we're who we are, and we don't want to change anything. They've come up a couple of times wanting to change something, and we told them no. : When you sign a deal that's not a developing deal, which is where they pick your songs for you, if you're a band on your own, doing it your own way : they can't make you record something.
4 POINTS: What were your influences for this updated country rock sound?
CC: When we were growing up, on one half of the house was Merle Haggard, and on the other half of the household was, like, Molly Hatchet, Skynyrd and The Who. : I think that our sound is a pretty good mish-mash.
We always listened to stuff that was real - not just playing a song for how much you can dance to it.
4 POINTS: What do you mean by "stuff that was real?"
CC: Not having some agenda with playing music.
4 POINTS: Do you think you've stuck to that over the years?
CC: Yes we have, from the get-go.