Blackie and the Rodeo Kings headed to Nelson

The New York Times included Blackie and the Rodeo Kings in a list of songs that appeared on President George W. Bush’s iPod.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

By looking at the cast of characters that makes up Blackie and the Rodeo Kings you may wonder how this unique bunch of musicians created something that has lasted over a decade, but vocalist and guitar player Stephen Fearing said it’s a shared love of music and a deep respect for each other that holds them together.

“No one would have ever planned it,” said Fearing from his Halifax home. “No one would have ever looked at us and thought ‘let’s put these guys together.’ But when we got in the studio — and it’s a cliche but it’s true — I just felt strongly that there was something more than just a bunch of musicians coming together who loved this one musician’s music.”

Blackie and the Rodeo kings first formed as a Willie P. Bennett tribute band.

Fearing was introduced to Bennett’s music as a teenager. His older sister Jane came back to Ireland, to the family home one year with a Bennett album and Fearing connected to the music.

“It was one of those random things,” he said. “His music has a lot of layers, which is great when you’re kind of a guitar nerd/geeky teenager and sort of filled with teenaged angst you want something with a certain melancholy to it. At the same time it’s very simple to play. It’s not complicated chord-wise. It’s something you can grasp quickly yet it keeps going and going. As you get older and understand more things about life the songs still work.”

While Fearing was living in Vancouver working on his music and developing his craft as a singer/songwriter he had the unique experience of meeting Bennett, a musician and songwriter he deeply admired.

“It was a little bit awkward when I first met him because I was just another person who knew of him from his records and now as an artist myself when somebody comes up to you and they are really enthusiastic, they only know one part of you, so initially he was kind of stand-offish,” he said.

Fearing had gone to The Classical Joint in Vancouver’s Gastown for their open stage night and Bennett was in the crowd.

“I went up to him and said ‘Hi, I’m a really big fan,’ and he kind of looked at me like ‘Oh, not another male singer/songwriter.’”

Fearing remembers Bennett was wearing a “funny hat” like a khaki hat worn by the characters on M.A.S.H. but more like a fishing hat with fishing lures stuck in it.

Fearing said once Bennett found out he was a musician, he was very generous with his time.

“We became fast friends,” he said. “As I sort of grew as a performer myself I started coming into Toronto more and more and he just said here’s a key to my house, come in and make yourself at home.”

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings has gone on to make seven albums since their first Bennett tribute album.

“I am surprised,” Fearing said about the band’s success

“Colin [Linden] lives in Nashville, Tom [Wilson] is in Hamilton and I’m in Halifax. It’s not really a recipe for a band to continue but we’re closer now that we have ever been and we’re making more headway and achieving more of our goals than we ever have.

“This thing just keeps growing and growing, and getting deeper and richer. I don’t really understand why that is. There are lots of things you can point at but it just comes down to us having a shared love for the same music and we really respect each other a lot. And we don’t have to spend every day of our lives around each other.”

The band has received numerous award nominations and won the Juno award in 2000 for best roots and tradition group.

The New York Times included Blackie and the Rodeo Kings in a list of songs that appeared on President George W. Bush’s iPod.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings plays two shows at The Royal on Friday, April 27. The first is at 6 p.m. followed by a 9:30 p.m. show.

For more information visit

liveattheroyal.com.

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: John Dooley elected Nelson’s mayor

Logtenberg, Anderson, Woodward, Renwick, Morrison and Page elected to council

15 new mayors to take office across the Kootenays

Here’s a look at the highlights from across the Kootenay region in B.C.

Castlegar voters choose Tassone as new mayor

All incumbent councillors also returned

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read