Jim Cuddy has always written about the uncertainities in life.
Whether the songs reflect love or family or are from his world or our world. These songs and stories have endeared him to millions in Canada with roots rockers Blue Rodeo.
However, Skyscraper Soul is Cuddy’s first solo recording that feels like it could reside in the heart of Americana.
In a land where Jackson Browne explored the uncertainty of the American dream and the Jayhawks hung out at Hollywood Town Hall Cuddy’s country soul inflections tap deep into a world wide emotion.
The uncertainty of life!
On songs like Wash Me Down with the gorgeous dobro of Colin Cripps and Bryden Baird’s floated trumpet lines behind Cuddy’s voice or even smack dab at the heart of the title track written about Toronto (substitute Los Angeles, New York, etc) Cuddy finds “the mud in his veins, the steel in his bones or a heart beating in a battered town”
Elsewhere on a song like Regular Day you could be driving across Canada, America or Europe it does not matter.
That’s because the song is about the plight of everyday folks. That goes the same for the next song, Everyone Watched the Wedding. It’s not as much about the Royal Wedding as it is about hope, our families and yes “that uncertainty in our lives”
Behind a killer band featuring Blue Rodeo’s bassman Bazil Donovan, violinist Anne Lindsay, drummer Joel Anderson, the superb flavour of Colin Cripp’s guitar lines and mixed with Steve O” Connor’s ambitious piano work the songs are given a certain space that’s very defined.
You know it when you hear it.
Banks of the 49 one of Cuddy’s more heartfelt tracks is balanced by Watch Yourself Go Down a superb soulful strut that just leaps out at you behind the funky groove of drummer Joel Anderson.
We have never had to go far to find out what’s on Jim Cuddy’s mind. Just check the songs, and open your ears
Whether it’s the gorgeous Ready to Fall or the Rock n’ Roll of a track such as How In the World, Cuddy can be evocative, literate and soulful often in one song .
Timeless music for any generation. Make no mistake about that!
JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio show host. Check out his blog here, his radio show