Blackie and The Rodeo Kings announce Canadian Tour – Peterborough date is first in five years presents the Canadian supergroup on November 29th at Market Hall with guests Harlan Pepper

Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden, and Tom Wilson are Blackie and The Rodeo Kings (photo courtesy of the band)
Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden, and Tom Wilson are Blackie and The Rodeo Kings (photo courtesy of the band)

In 1996, when Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson came together to record what was supposed to be a one-off tribute album to the great songwriter Willie P. Bennett (of Peterborough), there was nary a thought that they would eventually become a going concern as a band. At the time, all three members were deeply committed to burgeoning solo careers that they had no intentions of putting on hold.

Twelve years later, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings has organically evolved into one of the finest roots-oriented bands in North America, having released six CDs and evolved a feeling of brotherhood manifested in a sense of groove, timbral blend and melodic and rhythmic play that is distinctive, mystical, energizing and constantly evocative. The sum is indeed greater than the parts – and the parts are as good as they get. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings remains one of Canada’s greatest musical treasures.

The idea for their current release — Kings and Queens — was hatched in a rental van at the end of a Rodeo Kings tour. Late one night, on a long drive between Somewhere and Somewhere-else, the band began talking about the various female artists they have had the privilege of working with over the years. What began with a page torn out of a notebook and a lot of interjections like “Hey, what about … ” and “Wouldn’t it be great to work with …” has transformed into a whole album featuring these legendary and iconic female voices; one on each of 14 stellar tracks.

The result is an impressive collaboration. Kings and Queens pairs the band with some of their favourite female singers and friends — and some of the biggest names in roots, blues and jazz: Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Pam Tillis, Serena Ryder, Lucinda Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Amy Helm, Janiva Magness, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Sam Phillips, Sara Watkins, Exene Cervenka, Patti Scialfa and Holly Cole.

Grammy- and Juno-winning producer Colin Linden (Bruce Cockburn, Tom Wilson, Stephen Fearing, Colin James) took the helm for the new album, and the new recordings have taken the Kings from Nashville to Toronto to New York City to New Orleans, Los Angeles, Woodstock and back again. As the band explains, “No destination is too far for love …”

Following the success of their March 2012 Massey Hall show in Toronto, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings is proud to announce the Kings and Queens Tour, named for the latest record. Some of the album’s “Queens” and other close friends will be making special guest appearances, performing live with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings throughout the tour. Colin, Stephen and Tom last graced the Market Hall stage as The Rodeo Kings in July of 1997 at the “Willie P. Benefit” — a fundraiser for their songwriting hero who was off the road at the time due to illness.

On September 18, 2012, just in time for the tour, Vancouver-based record label File Under: Music will release Kings and Queens: The Deluxe Edition, which features two additional tracks with the legendary Patty Loveless.

Keep up with the band and read more about the tour at

Opening Band – Harlan Pepper

Members of Harlan Pepper, clockwise from bottom left: Dan Edmonds, Thompson Wilson, Jimmy Hayes, Marlon Nicolle (photo courtesy of the band)
Members of Harlan Pepper, clockwise from bottom left: Dan Edmonds, Thompson Wilson, Jimmy Hayes, Marlon Nicolle (photo courtesy of the band)

Formed in 2008, Harlan Pepper are four young men from Hamilton playing music with an old soul. Channeling the ghosts of long-gone AM car radios and haunting the dusty aisles of small town vinyl record bins, Jimmy Hayes (guitar, pedal steel, harmonica), Dan Edmonds (banjo, keys, vocals), Thompson Wilson (bass, vocals), and Marlon Nicolle (drums, vocals) are barely out of high school.

Recorded at Hamilton’s Vibewrangler Studio with Aaron Goldstein (Huron, Espanola), their debut album Young And Old conjures up a session where Gram Parsons, Buck Owens and Hank Williams pay a Basement Tapes visit to sit in with contemporaries like Joel Plaskett and Jeff Tweedy. Moving from the wind-in-your-hair banjo-led opener “Great Lakes”, to the road-ready hook-and-head-nod of “Little Miss Sunshine”, to the sing-a-long crowd favourite of “Reefer”, this is a set of nine songs that roll along with the top down.

Already an accomplished live band, Harlan Pepper has shared the stage with the likes of the Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Sadies, Born Ruffians, Two Hours Traffic, Lee Harvey Osmond, Huron, the Arkells, and Feist. With the AM radio crackling out a distant signal and a stack of instruments older than all of them in the back of the van, the band will be touring all through 2012 in support of Young And Old.

For more, visit

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Jeannine Taylor
Jeannine Taylor is the CEO, founder, and publisher of and a contributing writer. She's a self-professed geek and early adopter. Jeannine has over 30 years of experience in marketing, media and communications, and web development. She has been a digital media publisher for over 25 years since was launched online as Quid Novis in 1996. Her awards include Peterborough's Business Woman of the Year in 2005, a Premier's Award nominee in 2003, and a City of Peterborough Civic Award for chairing the development of Millennium Park. She's also a vegetarian, music lover and, cultural enthusiast. Jeannine would rather be at the cottage kayaking or hanging out with @caitthebordercollie. You can follow her on Instagram @wired_woman or on Twitter @wiredwoman.