Blue Rodeo members headline latest Order of Canada recipients

Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo.
Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo. Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – The singer-songwriters behind the enduring success of the band Blue Rodeo headline a talented cast of new appointments to the Order of Canada.

Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor will be celebrated as Officers of the Order in a ceremony later in 2014, along with 88 other new or promoted appointees, Gov. Gen. David Johnston announced Monday.

Those being honoured include actors Colm Feore and Sarah Polley, author Douglas Coupland, journalists Steve Paikin and George Jonas, historian Michael Bliss and fashion TV host Jeanne Beker.

Former Conservative deputy prime minister Don Mazankowski and retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps are among four eminent Canadians who are being promoted to be Companions of the Order of Canada, the highest honour.

Cuddy, 58, and Keelor, 59, have been making music together since teaming up in high school, a lasting if sometimes combative duo whose relationship Cuddy once called “incendiary.”

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s like being between a rock and a hard place,” longtime Blue Rodeo bassist Bazil Donovan once said of the pair.

Tweet This

Together their sound – described variously as roots rock and alt-country – has pushed more than three million discs, a collaboration that includes 12 studio albums, three live recordings and a greatest hits compilation.

And it was 20 years ago this past October that they released Blue Rodeo’s biggest selling album, Five Days in July.

The band has often been a counterpoint to the pop hit sounds of the day, starting with its work in the late 1980s when overblown production was the norm.

“We started out to be the anti-music of that kind of music,” Cuddy told The Canadian Press in a 2012 interview.

“What we learned was we never, ever ceded control to anybody again for our records.”

Tweet This

Cuddy and Keelor are being cited by Rideau Hall for “their contributions to Canadian music and for their support of various charitable causes.”

The Order of Canada over the years has included a who’s who of Canadian music – from Joni Mitchell and Neil Young to Oscar Peterson, Maureen Forrester and Stompin’ Tom Connors – but it doesn’t often invest multiple band members together.

Story continues below advertisement

Notable group appointments include the 1996 investiture of Rush’s Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart and the 1993 investiture of sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle.

The latest recipients will be invited to a ceremony at Rideau Hall to accept their insignia at a later date.