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Left Lane: Cody Canada & The Departed

Oklahoma band arrives in style with new CD

July 14, 2011
By RICH GIBSON , Times Leader

They did their best to bring Red Dirt music to the masses did Cross Canadian Ragweed during a relatively prolific 15-year run.

To be sure, this was no north of the border combine. Instead CCR, certainly not to be confused with 60's icons Creedence Clearwater Revival, was named for three band members - guitarist Grady Cross, lead singer Cody Canada, and drummer Randy Ragsdale.

The band enjoyed moderate success following seven studio records and a trio of well-received live discs.

Article Photos

Fourteen months ago, it was suddenly Splitsville for these high octane Okies who had generated a frenetic following in the southwest, routinely selling out shows in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

Canada had settled in to Stillwater at age 16, calling it, "the greatest place on earth. I was able to meet (regional) icons like Jimmy LaFave, Scott Evans, Bob Childers and the Red Dirt Rangers. They were all playing this really, really good music.

"I didn't even know what Red Dirt was until somebody told me. I got turned onto it all and it's stayed with me ever since."

Canada didn't figure to remain inactive for any length of time after Ragweed broke up. He was well-established as a formidable writer and equally gifted vocalist.

An idea to pay tribute to a stable of highly-regarded Oklahoma artists and writers became a priority for Canada. The result is "This Is Indian Land" an indie release just out. And one which a majority of Jamboree in the Hills fans will easily relate to.

"A 15-track buffet of really kick-ass Okie songs," is how Canada describes the record. "These songs might sound like originals because not many people have heard them."

Canada and his ace band, the Departed, roar through the proceedings and emerge with one of summer's most potent projects.

Leon Russell's "Home Sweet Oklahoma" is a perfect fit. Canada and company also shine on one of several radio friendly numbers, "The Ballad of Rosalie."

"Long Way to Nowhere" is earning frequent spins via Sirius Satellite Radio's Outlaw Country dial and the Kevin Welch-penned "Kickin' Back In Amsterdam" reels you in with its infectious groove.

Joining Canada on the new CD is Ragweed holdover Jeremy Plato (bass) in addition to stellar lead guitarist Seth James; drummer Dave Bowen, and Steve Littleton (B3 organ and keys).

"We kicked around several ideas for names," Canada advised. "We're all from different bands and we wanted something to sound like we came from different places. The Departed was right on the money."

The band made tracks for Austin (Tx.) and Yellow Dog Studios for recording where owner Dave Percefull arrived from Tulsa.

"I walked in and saw pictures of all these Stillwater guys hanging on the wall and thought, 'Man, this is where this album needs to be cut,'" Canada explained.

Like Ragweed, Canada and the Departed are on the road, heading west over the next few weeks. Some midwest and eastern play dates are yet to be scheduled, though that's likely to change before the arrival of fall.

In the meantime, check out the band's website at

NOT that anyone here in the valley would consider a career move....however. has compiled a list of what it's labeling: "The Next Big Boom Towns in the U.S."

Two of the top three cities noted are, No. 1, Austin, Texas; and No. 3, Nashville, Tenn.

You won't find a more prolific music scene in America than in Austin, home to the University of Texas. Austin is rated the third-fastest growing city in the country.

According to Forbes, there's a thriving job market in Austin, attracting a large number of recent college grads and families with young children.

Nashville, obviously, is recognized as Music City and a country music mecca. However, low-housing prices and a pro-business environment are making it a destination city for career-minded seekers.

The Lane has enjoyed multiple stopovers in both cities and would not disagree with Forbes' findings.

Incidentally, Raleigh, N.C., rated second on Forbes list with two more Texas cities (San Antonio, Houston) rated fourth and fifth, respectively....

Gibson may be reached at



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