Blue Rodeo & The Planet Soul Horns and Strings at the Molson Amphitheatre (909 Lakeshore West), tomorrow (Friday, July 13). $19.50-$49.50. 416-870-8000.
Canadian rock country band Blue Rodeo are bringing something new to their sound, and frontman Jim Cuddy isn't sure how fans will take it.
At their show Friday at the Molson Amphitheatre, Cuddy introduces the Planet Soul Horns and Strings, increasing the size of the band from six to 18 players. The four horns and eight strings give new meaning to Blue Rodeo's annual tradition of exposing Torontonians to new songs during a summer show.
The new vibe comes across like Isaac Hayes meets Gram Parsons meets Burt Bacharach, icing their music with a positive spin and a 70s feel.
"It's necessary for us to do it," Cuddy says on his cellphone while picking up his kids from a Tomb Raider matinee. "And there's something high-risk about it that's exciting.
"That risk factor is our biggest sell of the year, which is good for us, and so is that feeling of experiencing that electrical jolt of being nervous about going onstage."
Cuddy is also opening a recording studio for Blue Rodeo projects. They'll start using the facility after their Toronto date to lay out some tracks for their next disc, still untitled and due out next April. Although he won't divulge its location, he says the studio's nestled in the heart of Hogtown.
"I wanted to put a record store up front. I also wanted to hold auditions -- like on a Sunday people could play, and if they're good enough we'd take them out back and let them demo their songs. But the guys in the band didn't want so much exposure."
Oh, well, on to the next idea. If fans can't wait until next spring for new material, Blue Rodeo are compiling a best-of album slated to hit stores in the fall that will include one or two new tracks with Planet Soul.
"They're really rhythmic enforcers. The music doesn't have a lush orchestral feel with a whole bunch of parts and pieces. The pieces are really unified. In other collaborations like this (Metallica, for example) you pretty much hear an orchestra with a rock band inside it, but I think it's the opposite with this."