It's not often that a three-week-old band headlines a concert at Madison's Majestic Theatre. But Cody Canada's brand-new roots-rock group, the Departed, will do just that on Sunday, Jan. 16. The Departed premiered with a show in Texas three days before the end of 2010.
Last October, Canada, 34, closed a musical chapter that endured for half of his life when Cross Canadian Ragweed split up.
There was no divorce and no bad feelings. Drummer Randy Ragsdale just wanted to spend more time parenting his son, who has autism. Guitarist Grady Cross left to open a pub in his hometown of Yukon, Okla.
Yukon is where the four members of Cross Canadian Ragweed grew up together. The quartet launched in 1994, playing blue-collar country-rock. They moved to the college town of Stillwater soon after.
The Ragweed's extensive touring schedule and emotionally accessible sound gained fans nationwide. They signed to Universal South in 2002 and charted four Billboard top-10 country albums between 2004 and 2009.
Despite that success, Canada, Ragsdale, Cross and bassist Jeremy Plato made a pledge to each other years ago. If any member left, the band would end. It's a promise they just fulfilled.
The Departed are a quintet. Canada and Plato are joined by Texas guitarist Seth James, whose independent success as a singer-songwriter peaked with his 2009 release, That Kind of Man.
Two Oklahomans, keyboardist Steve Littleton and drummer David Bowen, round out the lineup.
The Departed are casting themselves in shades of red dirt, the roots-rock musical genre named after Oklahoma soil. The red-dirt sound was forged by country-folk singer-songwriter Bob Childers in Stillwater in the late 1970s.
The Departed are planning to cover red-dirt songwriters on their debut CD, due out this April. This Is Indian Country will be a Sooner State tribute album featuring songs by artists such as Tom Skinner and Randy Pease.
This Sunday's Majestic show will be a chance for Madison to see Canada starting all over again and returning to his musical roots.