Published May 29, 2019Canadian country-folk singer-songwriter and frontman of Blue Rodeo, Jim Cuddy is set to ease you into the warmer months with his latest album, Countrywide Soul.
Recorded live on the top floor of Cuddy's barn, Countrywide Soul is intended to be as "natural as possible" to keep the "woody sound of the barn board room." It consists of 12 songs, including two new ones, a few covers and some re-worked material from his solo albums as well as from Blue Rodeo.
"When I was choosing songs for the record I tried to find those in which I could change the mood and tone or songs that I felt had been underdeveloped on previous records," Cuddy said in the release.
"All In Time," a remake of his 1998 solo album's title track, opens Countrywide Soul and as Cuddy says, the "mood and tone" are changed from his original tune. It's has a slowed-down tempo, with Cuddy heard listing chords before getting the band ready to play the love-based tune. Opening softly and slowly like a sunrise, there's constant drum beating throughout, with strings, guitars, a mandolin, a Wurlitzer and an accordion type sound all heard on the track.
Two new songs on the album include "Back Here Again," and "Glorious Day"; the former is a classic toe-tapping country song, pining for a lover, with drums, the violin and other string instruments including a banjo playing on the track. The latter is a positive mid-tempo song, with Cuddy sounding like the "cool guy" in the storyline. Strings are a big part and even include a solo, while drums pound, electric guitars electrify and the bass gives the song some extra edge.
"Clearer View," a song from Blue Rodeo's 2002 full-length Palace of Gold, is one Cuddy said felt "underdeveloped" when previously recorded, is still upbeat, but also includes keys, guitars and drums, while "Wash Me Down," a Cuddy solo tune from 2011's Skyscraper Soul, focused on remembering someone when they leave, closes out the album, with strings being the main focus of the slowed-down beat and his band singing along with him. This song works as the last one on the album since it's like saying "goodbye" to Cuddy and his band until next time.
Cuddy also puts a cover spin on two classic songs, one being "Almost Persuaded," originally recorded by George Jones, and the second is Glen Campbell's 'Rhinestone Cowboy." Both covers help shape the overall album, and help Cuddy show the variety of tunes he can interpret via his own vision.
With the creativity to recreate all these songs, Cuddy showcasing his vocal abilities and his band coming together to record in a different kind of space, Countrywide Soul is a unique blend of making what is old new again. (Warner)