Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

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Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Background information
Origin Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Genres Folk rock, alternative country
Years active 1996 (1996)–present
Labels True North, MCA Canada
Members Stephen Fearing
Colin Linden
Tom Wilson
Past members John Dymond
Gary Craig
Richard Bell

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are a Canadian folk rockalternative country band with blues and country influences. The band was formed in 1996, in Hamilton, Ontario, by Tom Wilson, Stephen Fearing, and Colin Linden.[1]


Early Period: 1990s[edit]

Tom Wilson (former lead singer of Junkhouse and Tom Wilson & the Florida Razors), solo artist Stephen Fearing, and guitarist and producer Colin Linden started Blackie and the Rodeo Kings as a tribute to one of their favorite Canadian folk artists, the singer-songwriter Willie P. Bennett. Their name was taken from Bennett's 1978 album Blackie and the Rodeo King.[1] What started as a side project soon turned into a full-fledged band after their first album, High or Hurtin': The Songs of Willie P. Bennett, was a critical success and popular with fans of both Bennett and each individual artist.[2] Blackie and the Rodeo Kings have released numerous full-length studio albums and received many awards and nominations. In 1999, the band recorded Kings of Love,[1] which received a Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album – Group in 2000.[3]

The band originally performed at such venues as the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec.[citation needed]


In 2003, the band recorded Bark. Kings of Love and Bark still had cover versions of Bennett's songs, but they also included some original material by the band members and cover versions of songs by Bruce Cockburn, Fred Eaglesmith and David Wiffen. In 2005, the band was included in a list published by the New York Times of songs found on President George W. Bush's iPod.[4] In 2006, the band recorded Let's Frolic!,[1] consisting of all-original material.

In 2008, the band were the winners of the 7th annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop vote for best band venue poster. It was designed by Michael Wrycraft.[5]

In 2009, the compilation album Swinging from the Chains of Love was released, which included the previously unreleased "Caves of Jericho" and a cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues".[2]

For their 2011 album Kings and Queens the band teamed up with noted female singers, such as Emmylou Harris, Pam Tillis, Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash, Cassandra Wilson, Serena Ryder and Patti Scialfa. Each of the 14 tracks featured a duet with one of the singers.[1][6]


Tom Wilson: Former lead singer of the 1990s rock group Junkhouse,[1] now working with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings as well as the Lee Harvey Osmond project. He has been playing since the 1980s, first with the Florida Razors, in 1986 for Beat Music, his first full-length album. He collaborated with Bob Lanois in 1995 on The Shack Recording, Vol. 1 and has worked with other musicians such as Garry Tallent and David Roe. His solo albums include Planet Love (2001) and Dog Years (2006).[7]

Stephen Fearing: Solo artist Stephen Fearing has been in the music business for over 20 years. Born in Vancouver,[1] he spent most of this childhood in Dublin, Ireland. He has worked with such producers as Clive Gregson (for his album Blue Line, 1989) and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos (for The Assassin's Apprentice from 1994, which also featured fellow Canadian Sarah McLachlan). Fearing has recorded eight solo albums and has won many awards for his efforts, including a West Coast Music Award for best folk music recording as well as five Juno nominations.[8]

Colin Linden: Guitarist and producer for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. As a solo artist, he has worked with musicians such as Colin James, Leon Redbone, Robert Plant and the Band.[1] Like his bandmates in Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Linden has also worked with Bruce Cockburn.[9] He has also worked as an actor, making his debut in the Coen brothers' film Intolerable Cruelty as "Father Scott".[10] Linden has won numerous Junos, four East Coast Music Awards and other accolades for his achievements.[11]

Accompanying musicians[edit]

John Dymond: Bassist for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and other well-known Canadian artists, such as Amanda Wilkinson, the Wilkinsons, k.d. lang and Bruce Cockburn.[12]

Gary Craig: Drummer and percussionist for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. He has performed with numerous Canadian musicians, from Anne Murray to Terri Clark.[13]

Richard Bell (March 5, 1946, Toronto – June 15, 2007, Toronto): Pianist for Janis Joplin and The Band. He was the keyboardist for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings for a number of years before his death.[14]



Year Album Label
1996 High or Hurtin': The Songs of Willie P. Bennett True North
1999 Kings of Love True North
2003 Bark True North
2006 Let's Frolic True North
2007 Let's Frolic Again True North
2009 Swinging from the Chains of Love File Under: Music
2011 Kings and Queens File Under: Music
2014 South File Under: Music
2017 Kings and Kings File Under: Music


Year Single Chart Positions Album
CAN Country CAN Rock
1996 "Lace & Pretty Flowers" 94 High or Hurtin'
1997 "White Line"
1999 "The Lucky Ones" 82 Kings of Love
"Lean on Your Peers" 19
2003 "Swinging from the Chains of Love" Bark
"Had Enough of You Today"
2004 "Water or Gasoline"
"You're So Easy to Love"
2006 "That's What I Like" Let's Frolic
2007 "The Fool Who Can't Forget"
"Buried in Your Heart"
2011 "Got You Covered" (with Rosanne Cash) Kings and Queens

Contributions to other recordings[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Deming, Mark. "Blackie & the Rodeo Kings". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Oliver, Nic. "Blackie and the Rodeo Kings – Swinging from the Chains of Love". musicOMH. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Best Roots & Traditional Album: Group 2000". 2000. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Bush's Playlist". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Design Nominees : 7th Annual Independent Music Awards". Independent Music Awards. Retrieved 15 January 2016. [dead link]
  6. ^ Wheeler, Brad (3 July 2011). "Blackie and the Rodeo Kings - and Queens". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Tom Wilson (6)". Discogs. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Stephen Fearing". True North Records. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Wilson, MacKenzie. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Wright, Michelle (2005). A Year in the Life: The Journals of Michelle Wright. Insomniac Press. p. 57. ISBN 1-897414-58-7. 
  11. ^ "Colin Linden 2006 – Easin' Back to Tennessee biography". Dragutin Matosevic. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "John Dymond". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Gary Craig". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  14. ^ Wenn (20 June 2007). "Richard Bell Dies". Retrieved 15 January 2016. 

External links[edit]