Kelowna: A younger Cuddy heads out on the road
If there was ever a surname to help launch a Canadian music career on the right foot—particularly with a whimsical jazz/blues/rock sound under a tiny Toronto label— “Cuddy” would make a good choice.
Canadiana heir apparent Devin Cuddy isn’t riding his father Jim’s coattails, though. He has a music degree from York University and a solid few years of daily and weekly performance, establishing his live act in the Cameron House on Toronto’s Queen Street West.
“I just started performing after university,” said Cuddy, explaining how a friend brought him into the 30-year-old music hotspot, introducing him to the new (young) owners Cosmo Ferraro and Michael McKeown.
One of the more seasoned music hot spots on the Queen Street corridor, the venue operates on an artist-in-residence basis, with residents providing a concert on the same night each week. Cuddy has done two solo stints and three with his band; his first was on Wednesday nights.
Branching out on his first Western Canadian tour this month, he expects the Blue Rodeo sheen will likely offer a boost, just as it has in the east.
“It’s fun for me to go places where my dad has been,” he said.
Blue Rodeo is perhaps best known for its go anywhere, anytime attitude, which built that band a grassroots fanbase bar none and a reputation for playing some of the smallest venues and most obscure music festivals of any Canadian band.
And the younger Cuddy is following that example.
When he comes to do the Kelowna, Kamloops, Nelson run, he’ll also be playing Twin Butte, Alberta (better known as an intersection southwest of Lethbridge) and Stony Plain, another small dot on the map outside Edmonton.
What he plays might surprise a few prospective fans, though.
Inspired by dixieland jazz and New Orleans blues, he admits Louie Armstrong was one of his first musical heroes inspiring a few years of playing trumpet in band class. No one could convince him to join the jazz band as it practiced at 8:30 p.m. in the Toronto public school he attended.
Playing with another new artist, Whitney Rose, also signed to Cameron House Records, the musicians are working in a new diaspora of tiny labels proliferating in a lively Toronto music scene.
Ferraro and McKeown, bar and label owners, won Cuddy by admitting they were green.
“The way things are changing, you need to find new ways to make money and reach even further audiences as an artist,” Cuddy said. “They were fresh and had creative ideas.”
One of the bar owners is connected to the Sadies and, of course, Cuddy has Blue Rodeo’s hookups.
Just as his dad was known as the upbeat half of Blue Rodeo, the younger Cuddy has a good sense of positive spin, and says he’s convinced it’s working for them.
Cuddy brings with him guitar player Nichol Robertson and bass player Devon Richardson; Zach Sutton plays drums and Cuddy himself plays the piano for Rose.
Rose is said to play Patsy Cline and George Jones 1960s era country music.
The pair play the Minstrel Café on Wednesday, March 20 at 9 p.m.