Album review: Blue Rodeo, Casino (1990)


By Steve Newton

Ever since its eponymous first record was unleashed to rave reviews three years ago, Blue Rodeo has been the little Canadian band that could. Mixing whimsical, feel-good roots rockers (“Heart Like Mine”) with savoury ballads (“Try”)—and always putting the music before things like image or hype—the group won hearts from coast to coast. The  1989 Malcolm Burn-produced Diamond Mine proved the band was no fluke, as the ace writing team of guitarists/vocalists Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor continued to click on slice-of-life tunes that got under your skin with repeated listenings.

On the new Casino, Blue Rodeo has connected with a third producer, Pete Anderson (who has worked with Dwight Yoakam and Michelle Shocked), and from the opening verse of the first track, “Til I Am Myself Again”, it’s evident the band has lost none of its down-home musical charm or its skill at pinpointing the beautiful flaws and rough edges of personalities and love relationships. While specific tunes evoke aspects of the two earlier albums, Casino stands on its own as yet another gem unearthed by one of Canada’s best bands.

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