Blue Rodeo

Palace of Gold – 2003 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

CDs by Blue Rodeo

Canada's Blue Rodeo has primarily been known for it's hard edged alt. country but on this latest release the roots in evidence are 60's and 70's pop.

The opening title track has a touch of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which is followed by the Beatlesque "Holding On." Elvis Costello's influence is apparent on "Homeward Bound Angel," "Stage Door" and the ballad "Tell Me Baby," with the latter having the strongest country feel on the disc because of a prominent steel guitar.

Other more pop oriented ballads ("Bulletproof," "Love Never Lies" and "Find A Way to Say Goodbye") could easily be envisioned as material suitable for Davy Jones or David Cassidy. Elsewhere uptempo tunes such as "Cause For Sympathy," "Clearer View" and "What a Surprise" could reside comfortably on oldies radio along with Edison Lighthouse and Spiral Staircase. The bluesy "Comet" is a cross between the Memphis Stax sound and the Doors that includes an allusion to William Blake's "The Tiger" ("What immortal hand or eye could carve this comet on it's course"), while "Walk Like You Don't Mind" is hard edged country blues.

Originally released in Canada in the fall of 2002 this American issue concludes with three live bonus tracks. "The Railroad" is a hard driving alt. Country tune that is more repesenative of the band's usual style, "Bad Timing" is a ballad that combines country,folk and jazz, and the closing "You're Everywhere" is Dylanesque rockabilly. There is not much twang here but Blue Rodeo serves up a pleasant collection of pop.