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Cross Canadian Ragweed Creates Their Own Alternative Country/Southern Rock Genre

Monday, September 3, 2007
Originally Published in The Front Magazine, Issue 4 in January, 2005



Grab some old records, eight tracks or cassettes spanning from the 1950s to early '90s and you'll find that country music was strictly about a man loosing his car/job/wife. Today, any average Joe is singing about any average thing, and it seems the particular genre has lost touch with it true, rockabilly roots. But Cross Canadian Ragweed (CCR) is trying to bring a little country charm back into the mix.

After eight years together, the laternative country/southern rock quartet of childhood friends from Yukon, Oklahoma have finally made their presence known in the Texas music revolution forefront. Drawing crowds in the thousands, frontman Cody Canada, drummer Randy Ragsdale, rady Cross on rhythm guitar and bassist Jeremy Plato or doing what they do best; making country music fun with a little more rock 'n roll flare.

Check the map for well-known cities renowned fro boasint a hot music scene: Nasvhille, Austin, New Orleans... but Yukon, Oklahoma? Not likely. Although the boys' hometown was not so music friendly, their passion for music never faltered, as the kindergarten friends pursued their goals, and did so at an early age.

Canada started on guitar at a mere eight-years-old, mimcking the southern-fried guitar licks of Stevie Ray Vaghan, Eddie Van Halen and Pete Anderson (of Dwight Yoakam fame). Even at concerts today, Canada wears Ozzy t-shirts and breaks into late '80s rock tunes in the middle of sets.

Fellow band mate Ragsdale wanted to play drums so badly when hew was younger that he dragged an old drum kit from a neighbor's trash bin into his family's cellar so he could practice at will. A year later, his parents started taking him seriously, namely his father, Johnny, who was one notable Yukon local as hehad been known for contributing his guitar talents to Bob Willis and Reba McEntire when she first began her music career. A strong supporter of the kindergarted friends, including his son, Johnny taught the future CCR members a wealth of musical knwledge, as well as encouraged their interests as a band.

Once the quartet had grown a little more into their music, the boys decided to move to nearby Stillwater, Oklahoma, where acts like Jimmy Laface and McClue's Great Divide had been established. The "North Austin/West Nashville (depending on your geographic standing)" location offered up enough of a local scene to really get CCR's music heard, as well as create a stir through word-of-mouth. A bit different from most Americana outfits, fans are surprised when they hear some of the cover songs coming out of the country-western group.

Although the band mates take influence from country greats Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and George Straight, fans can expect to hear some hard-core rock 'n roll anthems thrown into their set list. Canada mentions covering the likes of AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and The Heart Breakers and Stone Temple Pilots.

The more CCR practice, the tighter they become. The strong bond is one that Canada says benefits the band greatly when on and off stage.

"Sometimes it doesn't even feel like the crowd is there because we're all so focused on each other - what the next person is going to do," said Canada in one interview. "That's the sould of this band... the friendship between us."

Prior to their recent signing with Universal South, CCR has released four albums independently: 1998's Carney, 1999's Live at the Wormy Dog, Highway 322 in 2001 and 2002's Live at Billy Bob's Texas, nicknamed The Purple Album for Ragsdale's nine-year-old sister Mandi, who was killed in a car accident after a 2001 CCR show.

In late March, 2004, CCR released Soul Gravy, their Universal South debut (fifth album overall), a moniker that came from an in-depth brainstorming session on the tour bus.

Canada declares, "It's fattening music for your ass."

CCR will perform at the Gothic Theater in Denver on Jan. 10, at the Aggie in Ft. Collins on Jan. 11 and in Telluried Jan. 12 at Sheridan Opera House. For more info: www.crosscanadianragweed.com

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I'm Sami Jo From Denver, CO, United States Samantha loves to travel, lose herself in a good book, practice yoga at her favorite local studio, The Yoga Mat, and connect with friends, old and new. Her love of working with creative minds extends into her personal endeavors, as well. She and her husband conduct a project called "Songs For Jake," a music collaboration channel designed with the simple mission of getting great songs to one really big music lover. Through her business, Roger Charlie, Samantha focuses on publicity and management, working closely with authors, musicians, and creatives who find value in a more personal approach through communications.
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