In 1996 when Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson came together to record what was supposed to be a one-off tribute album to the great songwriter Willie P. Bennett, there was nary a thought that they would eventually become a going concern as a band. At the time, all three members were deeply committed to burgeoning solo careers that they had no intentions of putting on hold. Twelve years later, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings has organically evolved into one of the finest roots-oriented bands in North America, having released six CDs and evolved a feeling of brotherhood manifested in a sense of groove, timbral blend and melodic and rhythmic play that is distinctive, mystical, energizing and constantly evocative. The sum is indeed greater than the parts – and the parts are as good as they get. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings remains one of Canada’s greatest musical treasures.
In 2011 Blackie and The Rodeo Kings released an impressive collaboration by the name of Kings & Queens. The release pairs the band with some of their favourite female singers and friends – and some of the biggest names in roots, blues and jazz – Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Pam Tillis, Serena Ryder, Lucinda Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Amy Helm, Janiva Magness, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Sam Phillips, Sara Watkins, Exene Cervenka, Patti Scialfa and Holly Cole.
The idea for Kings and Queens was hatched in a rental van at the end of a Rodeo Kings tour. Late one night, on a long drive between Somewhere and Somewhere-else, the band began talking about the various female artists they have had the privilege of working with over the years. What began with a page torn out of a notebook and a lot of interjections like “Hey, what about…” and “Wouldn’t it be great to work with …” has transformed into a whole album featuring these legendary and iconic female voices; one on each of fourteen stellar tracks.
Look for Blackie & the Rodeo Kings on tour throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2012, and when these Kings hit your town, don’t be surprised to see guest appearances by some of the Queens!. Keep up with the band and read more about the release at blackieandtherodeokings.com.
Stephen Fearing Guitars and vocals
Tom Wilson Guitars and vocals
Colin Linden Guitars and vocals
Willie P. Bennett