Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are a Canadian folk rock/alternative country band with blues and country influences. The band was formed in 1996, in Hamilton, Ontario, by Tom Wilson, Stephen Fearing, and Colin Linden.
Early Period: 1990s:
Tom Wilson (former lead singer of Junkhouse), solo artist Stephen Fearing, and guitarist/ producer Colin Linden, first started Blackie and the Rodeo Kings as a tribute to one of their favorite Canadian folk artists, singer-songwriter Willie P. Bennett. Their name was taken from Bennett's 1978 album Blackie and the Rodeo King. What started as a side project soon turned into a full fledged band after their first album High or Hurtin': The Songs of Willie P. Bennett was a critical success and popular with both fans of Bennett as well as each individual artist. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings have five full length studio albums and many awards and nominations under their belt. In 1999, the band recorded Kings of Love which received a Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album - Group in 2000.
The band originally played shows at such venues as The Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec.
In 2003, the band recorded Bark. Kings of Love and Bark still had cover versions of Bennett's songs, but they also included some original material by the band members and cover versions of songs by Bruce Cockburn, Fred Eaglesmith and David Wiffen. In 2005, the band was included in a list published by the New York Times of songs found on President George W. Bush's iPod. In 2006, the band recorded Let's Frolic!, consisting of all-original material.
In 2009, the compilation album Swinging from the Chains of Love was released, which included the previously unreleased "Caves of Jericho" and a cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues".
Winner of the 7th annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop vote for best Band Venue Poster done by Michael Wrycraft.
Tom Wilson: Former lead singer of the 1990s rock group Junkhouse, currently a member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and LeE HARVeY OsMOND. He has had vast success with these groups as well as in his solo career. Wilson has been in the music industry for over three decades. He started his career in music with the band The Florida Razors recording "Beat Music" in 1986 as his first full length album. To date Wilson has worked with some of the best in the industry. He collaborated with Bob Lanois for their 1995 album "The Shack Recording, Vol.1" and worked with everyone from Garry Tallent (of The E Street Band) to David Roe (bassist for Johnny Cash). His solo albums include Planet Love (2001) and Dog Years (2006).
Stephen Fearing: Solo artist Stephen Fearing has been in the music business for over 20 years, born in Vancouver he spent most of this childhood in Dublin, Ireland. He has worked with such legendary producers as Clive Gregson (for his album Blue Line, 1989), and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos (for The Assassin's Apprentice from 1994 which also featured fellow Canadian Sarah McLachlan). Fearing has recorded 8 solo albums and has won many awards for his efforts including a West Coast Music Award for Best Folk music recording as well as many Juno nominations.
Colin Linden: Guitarist/ Producer for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. This solo artist has found great success in his projects that range from Colin James to The Band. Like the rest of his Blackie and the Rodeo Kings bandmates Linden also has worked with Bruce Cockburn. Linden has also tried his luck at acting, making his debut in the Coen Brothers' film Intolerable Cruelty as "Father Scott". Linden has won countless Junos, East Coast Music Awards and other great accolades for his achievements.
John Dymond: Bassist for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, as well as other well-known Canadian artists such as Amanda Wilkinson, The Wilkinsons, k.d. lang, Bruce Cockburn and more.
Gary Craig: Drummer/ Percussionist for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Craig has performed with just about everyone in Canadian music from Anne Murray to Jann Arden.
Richard Bell: (b. March 5, 1946, Toronto - d. June 15, 2007, Toronto) pianist for Janis Joplin and The Band, worked with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings as their keyboardist for a number of years before his death in 2007.