Canadian independence

With Cody Canada’s name now on the marquee, one might think it would put more pressure on the leader of reddirt favorite Cross Canadian Ragweed, which went on indefinite hiatus. Instead, it’s been quite the opposite.

“There’s a lot more freedom. I’m not singing all the songs, and I’m not playing on the leads. It’s really been liberating,” said the singer and guitarist, now performing with The Departed. “There’s more writers, more singers, more solos … I can kind of spread the wealth around. Everybody that’s come out has realized it’s a band, and that it’s a band effort.”

It’s done more than just liberate the Yukon native. Canada — along with CCR and current bandmate Jeremy Plato — long desired to make a record that paid tribute to all those who have inspired him.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, but just never got around
to it, because there were arguments within Ragweed and through labels about it. It’s a roots record, and we had the vehicle to do it finally,” Canada said. “It’s been a good thing, a sort of courtship record for us as a new band. Now that Jeremy and I have the reins, we figured, ‘To hell with all of that. We are going to pay tribute to these
people who shaped us as musicians and people.’ It’s something that
needed to be done. To me, there needed to be a whole record. They
deserved it.”

At 15 tracks, “This
Is Indian Land” is the result of a lifetime of work and inspiration. In
it, Canada and The Departed cover Oklahoma acts big (Leon Russell, JJ
Cale) and smaller (Greg Jacobs, Randy Crouch). Canada likes to describe
it as a “buffet of really kick-ass Okie songs,” and he had no shortage
of material from which to choose.

“It’s always impressed me … people
from Garth Brooks to The Flaming Lips. There’s such a big difference in
music even with all of us all being from the same, relatively small
area,” he said. “Picking the songs for this record was easy; the hard
part was trimming them down. This could have easily been a 30-, 35-song

He hopes it will lead his and CCR fans to pick up the music that helped them formulate, record and inspire their own.

“I wanted people that were fans of my music to know where I came from, to become fans of their music,” Canada said.

June 21, the disc also was meant to serve as a hearty “thank you” to
the bevy of country and folk singers who helped him achieve success;
they’ve heard the message loud and clear.

the look on the writers’ faces and hearing the singers on my voicemail
saying they were happy we did it, that really is a reward,” Canada said.
“I’ve never been cocky about writing songs, but I know that I can do
that because of these people, and it’s nice to give back in some little
way. That’s all they need, knowing their friends love them.”

now based in Texas, he still feels the love for his home state and all
the musicians there who helped lead him to where he is now. Canada
appears unwilling to forget that.

thing I’m most proud of, as far as being an Oklahoma musician, is my
friends surrounding me. That’s the first thing I noticed when I went to
Stillwater, that there was no one there trying to hold you down, only
trying to help you out,” he said. “We’ve been down here for 10 years,
and Texas has those people, too, but it just seems like Oklahoma has it
just a little bit more, like they invented it.”

Joshua Boydston

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