In the case of Toronto singer-songwriter Devin Cuddy, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The son of Blue Rodeo co-founder Jim Cuddy, Devin Cuddy is getting set to release his rambunctious debut album, appropriately titled Volume One, via Toronto indie label Cameron House Records.
From the moment album opener Dancin’ hits the speakers, listeners are treated to a compelling mix of New Orleans-inspired blues with a healthy dose of country thrown into the mix. Even with the relaxed feel of songs like East Coast Bred, Cuddy explores musical territory that few others before him have travelled.
The Devin Cuddy Band performs at George’s Roadhouse in Sackville tomorrow evening.
Checking in with The Times & Transcript from the second stop of his tour in Montreal, Cuddy recalls his father pushing piano lessons on he and his siblings. Initially, the younger Cuddy wasn’t interested in playing music.
“My father didn’t push us into playing music,” he explains. The piano lessons were more a part of life education as far as he was concerned. At first, I wasn’t into the lessons at all. When you’re 12 years old, being forced into something isn’t the best way to take to things.”
Cuddy says that his interest with playing music was stoked around the time he was 15 years old. He was pouring through his father’s record collection, discovering Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats and used them as the starting point towards building a career in music. He began taking lessons and eventually enrolled in York University’s music program, which made for a more natural progression into music as far as he was concerned.
“I never had big aspirations to be a performer and was never pushed into it. It just kind of naturally happened. Obviously, being around my father and his music afforded me a great deal of learning as well.”
Cuddy began taking up various musical residencies around Toronto, refining and developing a musical style that he could call his own. He says that the two to three years worth of shows played an immeasurable part in shaping the songs and arrangements heard on Volume One while also giving the young singer a nice confidence boost as both a vocalist and a performer.
Recorded live off the floor over four days, Cuddy says that he and his band wanted to capture the energy of their live show on record and feels they did a respectable job making that happen. Opting for energy and liveliness over making a record that was technically perfect was the most important thing as far as he was concerned.
“The band and I had been playing live for approximately six or seven months before we went into the studio to make this record. I knew what I wanted to get from the songs in the studio and it helped us to work really quickly once we were in there.”
Being grounded is another trait that Cuddy has inherited from his father. Rather than trying to get on board with a major record label, he instead chose to work with Cameron House Records, a small independent label with only four artists on their roster. While he doesn’t know precisely where the music business is headed over the course of the next decade, he is simply content to be making music.
“It is good to have a fresh perspective on things. Working with Cameron House affords me just that,” Cuddy says.