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Hey Blue Rodeo Fans, welcome to a new blog feature, Track Focus Tuesdays, where we'll look at a different Blue Rodeo track each week, from the biggest hits to the hidden gems. And what better track to begin with but Blue Rodeo's career defining hit, Try, from their 1987 first album, Outskirts.
Written by Jim Cuddy, Try was the second single from their debut album, Outskirts, released in October 1987. Try was released after the title tracked was released as a single and flopped! Initially Try had little effect because it hadn't reached many radio stations across Canada due to a postal strike. Once the band's manager convinced the record company to re-release Try, it began to get radio play. The song peaked at number 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart, number 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart and number 6 on the Top Singles chart. At the 1989 Juno Awards, "Try" was named Single of the Year and Video of the Year. The video featured Michelle McAdorey as the love interest (and at the time the girlfriend of Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor), who also fronted the Canadian band Crash Vegas, that featured guitarist Colin Cripps, now a member of both Blue Rodeo and the Jim Cuddy Band.
In 1987 I was a student at York University in Toronto and I lived in Scarborough. I had an original Sony Walkman 1 cassette player that was the size and weight of a large paperback book. It was a two hour ride encompassing 2 buses,. a subway line transfer, and 22 subway stops to get from my house to York University. Many of those early morning and late night trips were spent listening to Outskirts and marvelling at the beauty of Try.
Ten years later I got to MC the Oakville Waterfront Festival with Comedy On Wry, the musical/sketch/improv comedy troupe, and Blue Rodeo were the headliners that day. I'd written a parody of Try called Dry, about a couple arguing over washing the dishes. I brought two copies, gave one to Jim, and he signed my copy, which I framed and has been hanging in my music room ever since.
Here's Jim talking about Try and its effect on his and the band's lives...
Try has remained an integral part of almost every Blue Rodeo performance, and Jim has played it in different ways; at different speeds, and on guitar or piano. Jim's amazing vocals, the quiet atmosphere of the arrangement and how it shifts to such a powerful chorus, punctuated by Jim's falsetto, Bob Wiseman's emotional yet compact solo on the recording, and of course the plaintive, haunting lyrics, still give me chills when I hear it! No wonder it's been a perennial favourite of so many for so long.
-Dave Brinton, True Rodeo.