Cody Canada and the rest of his current band, The Departed may reside in Texas now, but when the band's new record, This is Indian Land, comes out next Tuesday, there's only one place that makes sense to hold the release party. Back when The Departed played Cain's Ballroom in January, Canada announced from the stage that the band would be returning for a two-night party for the album's release.
Canada may have jumped the gun a little as the album's street date got pushed back to June 21, but he still makes good on his promise, bringing the band back to Tulsa next week for a pair of special shows. As the record hits streets on Tuesday, the band will hold a special, semi-private listening party at the Ballroom, followed by a full show on Wednesday that will be open to the general public.
Before the group ever reached a record release date, however, it hit the highway and started breaking in its road legs in anticipation for what one should expect to be a lengthy tour. After all, Canada is used to living on the road, having averaged over 200 concert dates a year with his previous band, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and his bandmates all come from a similar background.
The band made its live debut at Texas' Gruene Hall on Dec. 29, 2010 and quickly hit the road, making its presence known throughout the Southwest region by touring consistently since the debut. Now that the album's release is looming near, one can only expect the band to become even busier.
When the band visited Tulsa in January, there was still a newness and excitement in the air, even though all of the members had known each other for years.
"Once you live together for a while, you really get to know each other better -- you learn each other's hot buttons and what to do or not do in certain situations," he said. "It's that way whether you're married or in a band or on a football team. It's been interesting, but it's done nothing but make us tighter."
Canada says he remembers the exact moment when everything came into focus.
"We were playing a show in Lajitas, Texas a couple weeks ago. We call it 'La Hottest' because it's so hot. It was 109 degrees and we could only run two ACs on the bus so everyone else was at the pool, but all of us in the band were sitting up in the front lounge, talking music," the musician recalled. "I just thought, 'You know we could all be at the pool or somewhere else, but we all truly like each other.' We're truly a band, and that's pretty cool."
Canada acknowledged that the kind of closeness his band shares isn't always common. He's seen and known bands that all went their separate ways when the show is over, but that isn't the case with The Departed. Even after spending weeks on the road together, Dave Bowen and his family has stayed with Canada at his home.
Canada also has a special bond with lead guitarist and co-singer Seth James.
"We got back from tour and had a couple nights at home and I asked Seth where he was staying," Canada said. "When he said he was just grabbing a hotel, I told him, 'No, come stay at my house. When he said 'No, you've already seen me for the past two weeks' I said, 'I know, but I still want to see you.' That's the way it is right now."
That relationship between Canada and James is a key ingredient to The Departed. "We've known each other for years," Canada continued. "We've played here and there, but never got to create our own mantra. That's what's exciting now. Him and I coming together was a long time coming."
When seeing the musicians interact, there's a definite chemistry between the two. Akin to a brotherhood, the two guitarist/singers are very similar, yet very different.
"Guitar wise, Seth learned the Mark Knopler way: very pretty and precise and technical," Canada said. "I learned the nasty, dirty, Neil Young way -- at least that's how Seth explains it."
Even with their differences, the two have come together to make a strong songwriting team as the band starts to find its true identity. Canada said they started out rushing the issue, but now songwriting is coming more easily. If the two are on the road for three days, they usually get at least one song out of the trip.
Right now, however, the band is celebrating the release of This Is Indian Land, a collection of songs written by Oklahoma natives ranging from Randy Crouch to Kevin Welch to Bob Childers and even Leon Russell and J.J. Cale.
The initial listening party on Tuesday, June 21, is a semi-private event, with tickets available to people who have "boarding passes": acquired by joining the band's fan club or from pre-ordering the new album. Some additional passes will also be given away via promotions on the band's Facebook page, so it's worth looking up the band and keeping track if you don't have tickets. According to management, a limited number of remaining tickets will be made available to the general public the morning of the show for $25.
Canada said the first of the two shows will be a listening party with fans and all of the musicians whose songs are on the disc that can make it out to the show. Right now, it appears that most of the songwriters will be in attendance and an acoustic setup will be on stage for the original writers to perform ther songs and come together for something of a family jam.
"It's really just a celebration of Oklahoma music," Canada said.
On Wednesday night, June 22, The Departed will take the stage for a full band rock show that will see the band cover most of the new disc as well as a few new songs and a handful of tunes from the members' back catalogs.
Tickets are still available for Wednesday night's show for $18. If you don't already have your boarding pass for Tuesday night, keep an eye on the band's website, departedmusic.com or its Facebook page.
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