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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Cross Canadian Ragweed pleases Maiden fans as well as rockin' chicks

The Mint Los Angeles, Aug. 15,2003

By Dan MacIntosh

LOS ANGELES - Vocalist Cory Canada took the stage before an intimate club gathering - comprised primarily of Universal Records "suits" - casually dressed in an Iron Maiden tour shirt. And as it turned out, this retro-wear t-shirt choice was like a billboard-sized hint of what was to follow musically tonight. Cross Canadian Ragweed may be four good old boys from Oklahoma, but they love to rock out, just as much as they dig the Southern twang.

Canada's softer side was revealed with his own "17" and the ballad "Constantly," and his country leanings came out during a cover of the Waylon Jennings-associated "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line." Although this Jennings tributary performance was nearly spoiled by an extended instrumental jam in its middle section, the group nevertheless exposed its deeply rooted country affiliation with it.

The band also performed Guy Clark's "LA Freeway," which was preceded by a funny story about how these country boys somehow found themselves caught in the middle of one of LA's infamous car chases. Apparently, these bizarre events aren't common crime situations down there in Okie country. Who knew?

When the group sank its teeth into Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" about midway through this approximately hour-long set, it didn't really come as any great surprise. But when Canada - while appropriately swinging his Motor City Madman-long locks - broke into the heavy metal guitar-centric Ted Nugent FM radio staple of "Stranglehold," it made his Iron Maiden apparel all the more appropriate. This tune may be more than a country mile away from anything close to typical country music, but it nevertheless put sheepish grins on a lot of the industry folk holding ears in the house.

A small contingent of partying CCR diehards got the most pleasure when they sang "Boys From Oklahoma" along with the band - especially because of this song's lyrical references to rolling joints. These fans were attentive the whole night through, however, even when the group tried out a few of its yet-to-be-recorded songs.

Cross Canadian Ragweed may be a little hard to brand at this point, but Canada's heartfelt songwriting and well-developed instrumental skills make it an act worth keeping an eye on. It's rare to find a group that has something to offer Iron Maiden metal heads, as well as rockin' hicks.