Thursday, February 3, 2011



Canadian roots supergroup Blackie and the Rodeo Kings previewed new material from its upcoming Kings And Queens album during a brief tour of New Brunswick this week. The trio of Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson have recorded 14 tracks with some of the most famous female singers on the continent. "We were hoping to have it out for Mother's Day," says Linden, "but it might be more like Father's Day now." It's taken two years to finish the ambitious project, which features the band members in duets with the likes of Emmy Lou Harris, Patti Scialfa, Rosanne Cash, Lucinda Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Amy Helm, Serena Ryder, Mary Margaret O'Hara and Sam Phillips.

The band performed a stripped-down show for the three N.B. dates, featuring only the three guitars and voices, Fearing and Wilson on acoustics and Lindon ripping slide on dobro and electric. In addition to several new songs from the album, Blackie unveiled a front-of-stage unplugged version of The Band's Acadian Driftwood for this brief Maritime stop. In the meantime, Linden is busy shopping the Kings And Queens album around to different labels, as they have left their old home at True North. With the star-power on board for this project, they've been listening to several offers, some including U.S. distribution. Blackie has already had some U.S. success, with a regional hit in the States with Swinging From The Chains Of Love. Linden is also a known quantity there, with a recording studio in Nashville, and a professional tie to star producer T-Bone Burnett, going back to his work on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Linden recently guested on the Burnett-produced Gregg Allman album, playing dobro on some cuts, joining an all-star band which also featured Dr. John and Doyle Bramhall II.

Linden also just wrapped up production of the upcoming release from rising Canadian blues star Matt Anderson. The disc was recorded at Levon Helm's studio in Nashville, and also features a guest spot from Helm's daughter Amy. Anderson walked away with two major Maple Blues Awards last month, Entertainer of the Year and Acoustic Act of the Year. Linden describes Anderson as one of the biggest talents he's ever come across, which is high praise from a man who mentored under Howlin' Wolf. That disc arrives in May.

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