By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Change can be scary, but that’s not the case for the musicians in Cody Canada and The Departed.
All five members come from well-known bands across Oklahoma, Texas and the nation. Steve Littleton on organ and keyboards was a member of Medicine Show and Stoney Larue and the Arsenals. Dave Bowen drummed for Stoney LaRue, as well as Bleu Edmondson. Seth James, on guitar, has played with Ray Wylie Hubbard and was the frontman of his own band, the Seth James Band. Rounding out the group is Cody Canada and Jeremy Plato, former members of Cross Canadian Ragweed.
However, all five members are ready to look ahead.
Since 2010, when the group began, they have released one album — This is Indian Land — a compilation of familiar tracks many of the members listened to as they grew up.
“The first record with The Departed was all the Stillwater, mainly Stillwater, but it was all Oklahoma music and there was a few Tulsa influences, but this was a record I wanted to do for a long time just to let people know what we grew up on,” Canada said. “There was reasons it couldn’t happen in the past with Ragweed and with Ragweed splitting and us starting this thing, it was the perfect opportunity.”
He said it also bought the group time to start working on original material.
They are set to release their first album of orignal songs this fall.
“It’s kind of all over the place, stylewise,” James said.
He said the music will be similar to their first CD of covers, but will be something all their own. James said the various styles will make the record unique. They will begin recording Tuesday, Canada said.
He said the group calls for each person to allow their personality in the way they play to influence the sound. While there isn’t a specific sound the group is seeking, Canada said the influences come together and work well.
“I think we’re not really angling for something,” Canada said. “It’s just happening.”
Cody Canada and The Departed have been touring for several years, and have performed some of the new material.
“The new stuff seems to get a really good response,” James said. “It’s nice when people ask you, ‘Hey man, when you coming out with the new record?’ Well, hell, we just came out with the other one. It’s a good thing that people want it and people compliment that they like the new stuff they hear and that they want to hear more.”
“What’s been cool is that people really have dug ‘Indian Land’, but the word through the underground is that they are ready to hear what we have to say,” Canada said.
Both said they aren’t nervous about putting the band’s work out there and are 100 percent confident.
“We mean business,” James said. “We’re here for a reason and we think it’s the right reason. ...”
James said this will be the first chance for fans of the members other past projects to hear the new record and have the opportunity to decide for themselves.
Canada said the overall response has been very positive. However, some were not all that happy, especially with the breakup of Cross Canadian Ragweed.
“It was a pretty short deal,” James said. “There wasn’t a lot of time in between so people didn’t get their time to grieve and something new showed up and it kind of pissed them off.”
But night after night, the band continues to play live shows and introduce their sound to a new audience.
“When you have five members on stage that work together on the same level every day, all day, I think it sounds different than when you have a front guy that hires some dudes to play his music or to regurgitate it, and we don’t really do that,” James said. “That’s a plus for the listener to get to come see a rock and roll band throw down.”
Every night the performance can be different, Canada said. Sometimes a song may lead to an impromptu jam. He said there is always something extra.
With an upcoming record and a busy tour schedule, James and Canada agree there is something to prove with this new venture.
“If you trusted us in our other bands, then trust us in this one, because we’re rejuvenated,” Canada said. “I know Jeremy and I are. I can’t speak for everybody. I feel like we got a new lease, and now we get to start again and we’re older and more mature about it and trust us.”