Cross Canadian Ragweed to perform in Columbia

Courtesy of Cross Canadian Ragweed If you're not allergic to Cross Canadian Ragweed, see the band play at The Blue Note on Wednesday. Courtesy of Cross Canadian Ragweed

Cody Canada's voice comes over the phone with crackling, fuzzy reception.

"It's a giant mudpit," he said in his deep voice, laced with a southern drawl. "Where are we, guys?"

There's a pause as the rest of the band is polled.

"Fort Madison, Iowa."

With the aftermath of a hurricane in the Midwestern states, country rock band Cross Canadian Ragweed suffered at an Iowan rodeo after the pouring rain drenched the venue so badly the stage was moved. As he spoke, Canada was in Iowa on the first night of a six-week run for their newest tour, one of many.

Situations like this aren't new to front man Canada and his band of Oklahoma natives. After 13 years of rocking, the guys have seen it all.

"All we do is tour," Canada said. "We'll tour this six and half weeks. We'll do a couple gigs in November. We'll take off for the holidays."

The members of Cross Canadian Ragweed - Canada (vocals, guitar), Grady Cross (guitar), Randy Ragsdale (drummer) and Jeremy Plato (bass) - are like brothers. Together since middle school, these rockers have been with each other so much, even their band name has pieces of them in it: The name Cross Canadian Ragweed meshes three of the band members' last names together (Cross, Canada and Ragsdale).

While most artists master recording, this band makes performing its art. On the road more than in the recording studio, the members have made their name on the stage with passionate rock shows and feverous entertainment.

"I like the kind of 'losing yourself,' where you get so lost in the moment but you just kind of ... black out," Canada said about being on stage. "It's like you've been drinking for several hours, but you haven't."

And he's not lying. Although alcohol is a widely used substance on the road for many musicians, this stereotype does not hold true for Cross Canadian Ragweed. On its most recent album, Mission California, the band experimented with different ways to write.

"It was a sober record," Canada said. "That's because our producer (turned) sober, so usually when we would drink, we would drink to cope with him. (This time,) everybody was clearheaded and focused. It'll be that way for the next one too."

Although most of the band's time is spent on tour with short spurts in the recording studio, Mission California was a lengthy production that the band was able to immerse itself in.

"We had time on this one," Canada said. "On the other (albums,) we didn't have a lot of time. We stayed for a month and recorded. We got to live with the songs for awhile, instead of recording it and saying, 'This is the best we can do.'"

The members of Cross Canadian Ragweed have made a few changes in the way they do things through 13 years together.

"It's really the same old thing, but it's always fresh," Canada said. "I don't want you to think that it's boring. We did just as much as we did in the beginning. Keep it fresh, you know." 

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