Making the transition from one band to another is never easy. Especially when your previous band was one of the most beloved all time of its genre.
Thursday night at The State Room, Cody Canada and his band, The Departed, put together a crowd pleasing set list that touched on all parts of Canada’s career, including his days with Cross Canadian Ragweed, and his latest project, The Departed.
Several of the songs played Thursday night off the band’s upcoming new album, due to be released in the fall, had a much heavier sound than what Ragweed fans may be accustomed to hearing. Canada has said he wants to write more songs that have a Stone Temple Pilots or Soundgarden kind of vibe (he even wore a Soundgarden concert Thursday night).
Guitarist Seth James and bassist Jeremy Plato (another founding member of Cross Canadian Ragweed) took turns with Canada rotating lead vocal duties, as well as James and Canada trading lead guitar roles.
The band played several songs off their debut album, This is Indian Land, a collection of cover songs from Oklahoma artists, including “The Ballad of Rosalie,” “Years in the Making” and “Skyline Radio.”
The new material was good. But the biggest cheers of the night came when Canada and Plato dug into the Ragweed catalog.
Old standards such as “Alabama” and “Anywhere But Here” were among the highlights of the evening and generated some of the biggest applause. The Departed also performed Cross Canadian Ragweed’s “Dimebag,” a song written in tribute to slain Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrel Abbott, and “Soul Agent” with Plato on lead vocals.
The most touching part of the evening came during a short solo acoustic set from Canada. The Departed traditionally play in Salt Lake City on the night before they go to Challis, Idaho for the annual Braun Brothers Reunion music festival, featuring Micky and the Motorcars and Reckless Kelly.
The band’s SLC gig also falls on Cody and Shannon Canada’s anniversary (number 14 this year for the couple).
After the crowd convinced Mrs. Canada to stand front and center to the stage, Cody played three acoustic songs including two new ones – one called, “Cold Hard Fact” and a second written for his son, Willie, who Canada said got a little jealous after the song “Blue Bonnets” appeared on Ragweed’s last record for his other son, Dierks.
The third song, Ragweed’s “Constantly,” may have been the highlight of the entire evening and became a big sing along number for the crowd.
The crowd at The State Room on Friday was significantly smaller than Canada’s past two appearances. My advice to fans is, don’t give up on this band. Canada will still play some Cross Canadian Ragweed songs for the hardcore old school fans. And you just might find you like the new stuff as well.