Singer-guitarist Greg Keelor
is one-half of the dynamic songwriting partnership that has become somewhat of a Canadian Lennon
over the course of the '80s and '90s. Keelor's growl of a voice and '60s rock sensibility is the gravel road beneath the sunny clear tones and warm balladry of fellow Blue Rodeo
frontman Jim Cuddy
. Keelor met future songwriting partner Jim Cuddy
in high school in Ontario -- though they didn't play music together until a few years after graduation. The two were in a punk-pop band called the Hi Fis, but then Keelor and Cuddy moved to New York in 1981 and started a new group, Fly to France. After that band failed, the two decided to record a demo of their compositions, which included such later celebrated Blue Rodeo
songs as "Try," "Outskirts," and "Rose Coloured Glasses." In 1984, they moved back to Toronto, where a country-flavored "lonesome highway" sound was developing in the clubs, and sent the tape around. Through friends and newspaper ads the two eventually formed Blue Rodeo
, whose highly lauded first effort, Outskirts
came out in 1986.
In the fall of 1996, Keelor started working on his debut solo album, Gone
. The album was somewhat of catharsis for Keelor, who had just found out he was adopted, been diagnosed with diabetes, and undergone -- after spending six weeks with a guru in India -- somewhat of a spiritual awakening.