Red Dirt Rhythm: an Interview With Cody Canada of The Departed

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Cody Canada was a founding member of Cross Canadian Ragweed. He started his new band The Departed in 2010 and their first album together, This Is Indian Land, is a tribute to his “homegrown musical roots,” featuring songs written by the Oklahoma songwriters that inspired him: J.J. Cale, Leon Russell, Kevin Welch and legends from the region that birthed the “Red Dirt” sound.
What constitutes the “Red Dirt Sound,” and how does it fit into the broader context of what people call “country music?”

Red Dirt To me fits into the older style of country, Merle, Willie etc … The thing about Red Dirt is it can be soul, rock, folk, country. It’s really about the honesty of the lyrics, nothing fake about it.

Is the Red Dirt music scene a living, breathing scene – or is it more of a nostalgia thing these days?

The red dirt scene will always be living and breathing. Seems to me it pops its head up again when music really needs it. My opinion is its time again.

How did The Departed come together? Are all you guys from Oklahoma?

Everybody but Seth James is from Oklahoma. Myself, I was born in the Texas Panhandle moved to Oklahoma when I was 2 and came back to Texas when I was 26. We’ve known each other over half our lives inside and outside music. We all were looking for a change.

How did you go about choosing the songs for This Indian Land? Were these tunes you grew up with?

Every song on this record was a song from my upbringing. Choosing the ones that didn’t make it was the hard part.

Do you have a favorite song on the album, or a favorite Oklahoma-bred artist?

Tom Skinner is by far my favorite artist. No offense to the others. They would agree. My favorite song is “Face On Mars” because it’s so different from the rest. (Click here to listen to “Face On Mars.”)

Are Oklahoma musicians able to support themselves by sticking around home, or do they have to go elsewhere to make it work?

Oklahoma takes care of their own, but getting out of state is always good. Gotta spread the dirt ya know.

Tell us about your upcoming tour with Shooter Jennings. Ya’ll seem like a good pairing.

We’re a perfect pairing – we believe in the same purpose. Make good non-bullshit music and travel and deliver it. Lots of new original songs on this tour. Getting fired up for our first original album.

Tour dates:

3/21 – Rabb’s Steakhouse – Ruston, LA
3/22 – Rockin Rodeo – Denton, TX
3/23 – Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK
3/24 – The Cotillion – Wichita, KS
3/26 – Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO
3/28 – Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN
3/29 – People’s Court – Des Moines, IA
3/30 – Joe’s Bar – Chicago, IL
3/31 – Mississippi Moon Bar – Dubuque, IA
4/01 — The Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL
4/4 – Buster’s Billiards & Backroom – Lexington, KY
4/5 – Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA
4/6 – Recher Theater – Towson, MD


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