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A Night with Cody Canada

Cody Canada By March 23, 2016 Tags: , , , No Comments

Last night I had the privilege of talking to Cody Canada at an acoustic show in Everman, TX (southern Fort Worth). This was the first I had spoken to him at any length and I have to admit I was a little starstruck.  If you’ve read my post on Transcendent Songs you’ll understand my reverence for the guy because of the personal impact that his music has had on me.  Despite my nerves, it was almost effortless talking to him. He’s just so open and personable, it felt like catching up rather than a first time conversation. We chatted largely about our families and where he was in making music.  Cody said he’s been working on new material for an album but admitted it’s been an uncomfortably slow process. He’s in a bit of a songwriter’s drought but I can’t imagine that will last for long, he’s just too damn good. Once The Departed has a new record, I guarantee you it will be covered here at Texas Music Blog.

As for the musical performance, it was fantastic and I really prefer seeing shows at the smaller bars because artists are typically much more conversational and relaxed.  There’s no big stage with mobs of drunk people and glow sticks, it’s just you and the artist. Cody always interacts with the crowd but when you are at a place like The Happy Armadillo it feels like you’re at a private party with all the banter and pot jokes that go back and forth between tunes.

Overall, the set list featured much deeper cuts – there was no “17”, “Constantly” or “Alabama” but to quote Cody “that’s all great but it’s like eating spaghetti every night for 19 years.”  I get it and that’s cool because hearing live acoustic versions of other songs tends to make you appreciate them more. I was too in the moment to keep the set list but he played stuff spanning his entire career to date – “250,000 Things” (written for his youngest son Willie),  “This Time Around” (co-written with Randy Rogers),  “Jenny”, and  “Dead Man”.

Cody also took some requests, like “Brooklyn Kid” where he busted out the harmonica.

He closed the show with one of my favorites, “Breakdown” which is about the struggle of “keeping your sh*t together” (quoting Ben Dorcy) during tough times because the people that depend on you can’t afford for you to fall apart.

Afterwards Cody hung out, signed autographs, took pictures, and visited with everyone that stuck around. Again, you don’t get that seeing a show at Gexa or Lone Star Park. You also don’t get that from a mainstream artist and outside of the music itself, it’s my favorite aspect to the Texas and Red Dirt Scene. The fact that you can walk up to somebody like Cody Canada, clank beers and enjoy a drink together is a testament to how good we have it.


Me and Cody sending “love” to my wife, Jessica, because she fell on the sword to stay home with the kiddos.

As if I have to tell you, go to for more about Cody Canada and The Departed.

Another musician absolutely worth mentioning is Zac Stokes, who opened the night and played for about 90 minutes.  Zac is from Athens, TX and has a deep, soulful voice that reminds me of Chris Stapleton. It also helps that he sports a big beard and covers Stapleton tunes  like “Fire Away” and “Tennessee Whiskey”.  Head over to his ReverbNation page and check out his music, it’s really good and I’ll likely cover him exclusively at some point.

For more video from last night follow me on Periscope.


About Transcendent Songs…

Cody Canada, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Justin Sandercoe By January 21, 2016 No Comments

Anyone who’s  a music fan has them. Those handful of songs that transcend every other tune you’ve ever heard. Those songs that you never tire of, you know or own every recorded version, you know the nuances of the vocal performances for each recording, you can hum the bass line, the guitar solo, the defining lick. You know their back stories and meanings. If you could Facebook stalk them you would.

Every time you hear them something stirs in you, you might get choked up or you might rock out so hard that the guy in the next lane thinks you are drunk or need serious help. Some you might feel ashamed of, a guilty pleasure that was once in vogue but now has fallen out of favor.

But some songs might even change your life…

One of those songs for me is “17” by former Red Dirt juggernaut Cross Canadian Ragweed. It was the song that introduced me to their music and further entrenched me in the Red Dirt music scene. A song about not being able to escape your past, it’s got a guitar lick that any Texas Country fan recognizes instantly.  Former front man, Cody Canada, tells the story of how he lifted that lick from “Linus and Lucy” (a.k.a. the Peanuts theme song). He also graciously credits his good friend Jason Boland “50%” for coming up with the hook. I’m not going to repeat the story because I think it should only come from Cody,  you can hear it off of his acoustic album.

So how did this song affect me? About four years ago, I was going through a rough time. I had changed jobs, lost my sense of direction in life, trying to figure out the meaning of it all. I was an emotional basketcase – depressed and anxious and needed something. One day driving I was running through my Texas music playlist and “17” came on. I had always loved the song but today was different. There is a line in the chorus that goes “you keep on runnin’ boy, you run yourself in the ground.” Choked up, I told myself “man I GOTTA learn to play this song”. Fortunately I had bought my wife a Seagull S6 folk guitar as a wedding gift 10 years earlier. We both took a shot at learning but clearly didn’t understand the time commitment involved in playing guitar. Then we started having kids and so it sat in the closet for 10 years. Thank God I never sold it. I got home that night and picked the thing up. I had no idea how to tune it, hold it, fret a note, play a chord. A total noob.

Now I had to find a teacher. After a Google search I found Justin Sandercoe. If you’ve never been to his site you need to check it out, he is the best guitar teacher on the internet. His site is a treasure trove of guitar wisdom and he immediately became my primary guitar teacher. At that point, I started spending 30 minutes a day in the front seat of my 2007 Toyota Yaris learning to play. Yes, I learned how to play guitar out of my freakin’ car. So ghetto. “17” was the 2nd song I learned (Margaritaville was #1 – G, A, and D are some of the first chords one learns in Justin’s Beginner Course). The “17” lick was the first lick I ever learned.

So now I have a passion for guitar. I spend as much time as a dad of 3 can practicing and I’ve dumped a lot of hours into learning the past 4 years. My children are getting exposed to music first hand which is a good thing and I highly doubt I’d be blogging about Texas music had it not been for Cody and that song. That song helped awaken a passion I knew I had but never had the fortitude to explore.

For those who’ve never heard the song, here you go

Oh that bleached blonde hair. Clearly going with the rock star look in 2002. The other thing I noticed was how new his PRS was back then. Here is a more recent shot and God knows what it looks like now.


I still listen to “17” a few times a week. I know some of you appreciate this song as much as I do and Cody even understands the impact it had on HIS career. Never stop playing it man, you have a classic.

Thank you Cody and Justin for helping to pull me out of a nose dive. Love you guys.

Oh and I have another Cody Canada story coming in a future post. Good stuff.

So… do you have any transcendent songs? Let me know.