After having released two critically acclaimed albums, Toronto’s Devin Cuddy notes big changes are in store with the release of his to be released third full-length record.
Where the spirit of his first two albums – 2012’s Volume One and his supremely excellent follow-up, Kitchen Knife (2014) – was more closely tied to a brand of blues emanating from New Orleans, Cuddy is cutting a new path into the world of rock and roll.
“The next album will definitely be a little different from what people have heard from us on our first two records,” Cuddy says in advance of his Thursday night performance at Moncton’s Plan b Lounge. “It marks a definite departure from the blues.”
Asked if the move toward more contemporary territory was a natural progression as a songwriter in the few years since Kitchen Knife, Cuddy affirms the change in style stemmed from a combination of factors, including his evolution as a writer.
“I wouldn’t say the move was entirely deliberate, but at the same token, we are trying to chase a bigger sound with every new record. We want our music to be heard by the widest audience possible. It just so happened when I sat down to write the songs for my next album, the style of the material I was writing was very much reflective of what I was listening to at the time.”
The past few years have been ones of growth for the young singer-songwriter. While one of his last performances in Metro Moncton was at Plan b in August 2014, he and his band also served as the opening act for Canadian legends Blue Rodeo at Casino New Brunswick earlier that year.
As the eldest child of Blue Rodeo co-founder Jim Cuddy, Devin has worked hard to prove himself and to quiet any naysayers that believe he is merely trying to ride his father’s coattails.
In a 2014 interview with me, Jim clarified that while he supported Devin’s career choice without hesitation, he has also treaded carefully to keep arm’s distance away.
“I’ve learned that Devin is not looking for advice,” Jim Cuddy said at the time. “He is very observant, knows what is happening and what it takes to make a band work.”
Not surprisingly, music has been a focus of Devin’s life from the time he was born. Coming into the world the week that Blue Rodeo began recording their landmark debut effort Outskirts, Devin found himself enrolled in piano lessons at the age of 12.
Three years later, his musical horizons broadened substantially, and his ears were subsequently opened to the likes of Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats he found tucked away in his father’s music collection. But because of his family ties and the status that Blue Rodeo have earned within Canadian borders, Cuddy knew that his decision to make music was going to bring an increased level of scrutiny to his work, whether it was warranted or not.
To Cuddy’s credit thus far, the family name is really the only ties that bind him to his father, since he is on a rather musically divergent path compared to Blue Rodeo. He and his band have been regular travellers on the highways of Canada, earning fans the old fashioned way of playing live.
And while the amount of time Cuddy spends on the road will increase significantly once his next album sees the light of day, he is pleased with the progress the band has made so far.
“I love the travelling aspect of being in a band,” he says. “We’ve been fortunate enough to see the work we’ve put into bringing our live show to audiences across Canada pay off in terms of audiences getting bigger show by show. It’s all we can really ask for at this point.”
What: Devin Cuddy
When: Thursday Aug. 10, 9 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton