By Chris Brown on February 22, 2018.
Of course a song celebrating Canada and featuring two of the country’s most distinctive voices would have its humble beginnings at a hockey game. The only thing that would have made it more Canadian is if they were drinking maple syrup and wearing Mountie uniforms.
It was at the 2017 Juno Cup, the annual hockey game that coincides with the Juno Awards, that Gord Bamford took a chance and asked Jim Cuddy if he’d be interested in partnering on a song. The Blue Rodeo frontman said sure, and about six months later “Ain’t It Grand” was debuted at the Canadian Country Music Awards.
Witten by Bamford, Buddy Owens and Philbilly, the song is an ode to Canada “from The Rock out to B.C.,” and recognizes the Blue Jays, the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, the strongest beer, hockey night on Saturday and Don Cherry and Ron McLean.
“I lived down in Nashville the last couple of years with my family, and absence makes the heart grow fonder,” said Bamford. “I really missed Canada and wanted to write a song about it.”
Getting Cuddy on board was the icing on the cake.
“When you think of Canada you think of Blue Rodeo and Jim Cuddy so it’s cool to have him be part of it,” he said.
Only having about three minutes to talk about such a great country makes it tough to mention all the things possible but Bamford is happy with how the song turned out. Fans are too.
“It wasn’t a song that blew up on the charts by any means and on radio but people seem to have embraced it as a true, patriotic Canadian song.” he said.
“Ain’t It Grand” is just one of the hits Bamford brings with him to the Esplanade at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 24 on his Neon Smoke tour, named after his latest album. “Where a Farm Used To Be,” “Put Some Alcohol On It” and “Blame It On That Red Dress” are just a few of Bamford’s other hits.
Bamford calls the local country fans awesome and said he’s always had a good time in Medicine Hat. He’s looking forward to getting into the Esplanade and playing in the up close and personal atmosphere.
The venue may be small but the show will be anything but.
“We’ve got a great band and a great show. Nothing toned down about it,” he said. “(Opening act) Aaron Goodvin is doing a great job, too. He’s a perfect fit for this tour and going over great.”
Tickets, $49 plus service charge and GST, are available at http://www.tixx.ca, by calling 403-502-8777 or in person at the Esplanade box office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk.
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