Reason #356 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Diamond Mine

diamond mineI was 19 years old and living in Canada during 1987, and my musical mind set was as far away from country rock (or the modern day equivalent of country rock, “Alt-Country”) as one could get. It was also a horrid time for music in general. The vast creativity and edge of the music from the early ‘80’s had given way to stadium bombast and cheese whiz (most often used as hair gel), and most of my beloved bands had either jumped the shark or just plain jumped off the face of the earth. Where was a little alterna-boy/recovering punk rocker like myself to go? Dance rhythms and electronica, that’s where!

I give you this background about me to illustrate that when Blue Rodeo burst on the scene in ’87 it is fair to say I wasn’t listening, not at all. During a recent thrift store visit (a year ago…recent to old dudes like me) I came across the Blue Rodeo album Diamond Mine and decided it was worth the $.50 risk. Wow. I mean, the title track alone was worth at least $.49! The rest of the album, although quiet and reflective for the most part, is really pretty terrific. Not as terrific as, say, Five Days In July or 2009’s psychedelic The Things We Left Behind (i’ve bought a few since this!), but miles better than most of the alt-country stuff I’ve heard. Plus, really, I don’t hear much ‘country’ in their music at all; more rock and folk and psychedelia.

Like another great band from the Great White North, Sloan, Blue Rodeo are considered national treasures in their home country, and virtually ignored here in the States. I wasted a lot of years by being too snobby to give these guys a go. Too bad, but at least I came to my senses.

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