Blue Rodeo: Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor (vocals, guitar); Bob Egan, Kim Deschamps (pedal & lap steel); Bob Wiseman, James Gray (keyboards); Bazil Donovan (bass); Glenn Milchem, Mark French, Cleave Anderson (drums).
Additional personnel includes: Sarah McLachlan (vocals, piano); Chris Gale (violin, baritone saxophone); Ron Mah, Jayne Madison, Julia Jones, Xiao Grabke (violin); Dan Blackman, Claudio Vena, Bev Spotten (viola); Winona Zelenka, Richard Armin (cello); Richard Underhill (saxophone); Bryden Baird (trumpet); Stephen Donald (trombone).
Includes liner notes by Michael Hollett.
In the liner notes for Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, Loftus Cuddy (guitarist/co-frontman Jim's brother) admits that the selection for a hits compilation for a band whose catalog is as massive and filled with possibilities as Blue Rodeo's is a difficult proposition unto itself. That being said, Greatest Hits is exactly what it claims to be: it has the singles, the hits that have made Blue Rodeo the best band in Canada. Try," "Diamond Mine," "Bad Timing," "Till I Am Myself Again," "Lost Together," and "Hasn't Hit Me Yet" are all here, and the list goes on. And for an introduction to the band, Greatest Hits is a great summation of their first 15 years of work. What Greatest Hits is not, unfortunately, is the best of Blue Rodeo. Albums like Nowhere to Here and Tremolo are given shockingly short shrift, given they are part of BR's creative peak (forming a jaw-dropping trilogy with Five Days in July). The Days in Between is left out altogether and there are even some notable absences among the singles ("Rebel," "Rain Down on Me"). There are two new tracks -- a raucous Greg Keelor cover of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" (which has become a concert staple) and a redo of Cuddy's "After the Rain" (originally from Casino). Again, this is a fantastic introduction to the first 15 years of the band that virtually invented alt-country all on its own, and it certainly lives up to its title of Greatest Hits. With any luck, there will soon be another collection released titled "The Best of Blue Rodeo" that will showcase the brave experimentalism and genre-bending mastery that have made this Canadian band the legends they genuinely are. ~ Tomas Mureika