Black Music Matters Festival

Cross Canadian Ragweed

Mission California – 2007 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Rev. Keith A. Gordon

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CDs by Cross Canadian Ragweed

For 13 years, Cross Canadian Ragweed has built an audience the hard way, by touring, touring, and then touring some more, over 250 nights a year since day 1. It helps their case that the band has released four rock-solid studio albums, complimented by a handful of rowdy live discs.

With its fifth studio effort, Cross Canadian Ragweed doesn't stray far off the course that's brought them to where they are today, offering up a sincere and sometimes sincerely raucous collection of guitar-driven country rock songs and thoughtful, mid-tempo ballads with a vintage '70s-era Laurel Canyon vibe.

Cross Canadian Ragweed reminds of another CCR from a long time ago, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Both bands boast of a charismatic frontman and talented songwriter, backed by an impressive band of instrumentalists. Also like CCR, Cody Canada and friends created an entirely fresh and original sound by mixing up Duane Eddy/Link Wray-influenced roots rock, old-school country and McGuinn-styled folk with Beatlesque harmonies and songwriting.

There's more than enough twang here to appeal to those who prefer pedal steel, but Cross Canadian Ragweed also throw enough six-string lightning and rhythmic thunder into the mix to knock down any old Zeppelin fans they meet along the way. They may not be the next big thing, but Cross Canadian Ragweed might just be the best of both and rock.