Cody Canada & The Departed
8 p.m. Wednesday
Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E. Sheridan
“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 album.”
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.
Released 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.
“Seeing 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.”
Although 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.
“The 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.”