Before he joined Gord Bamford in one of the songs on his new album, Jim Cuddy was lacing up the skates as the two faced off against a group of NHL all-stars during the Juno award weekend.
Bamford said Cuddy is an “intense hockey player.”
“He’s the team captain and one of those guys that makes sure you go over the boards and not open the door,” said Bamford.
“Him and his son are very competitive. They don’t like to lose against the NHLers, which typically happens. I think we’ve only beat them one year.”
The lead singer of Blue Rodeo joins Bamford on the track Ain’t it Grand, an anthem filled with Canadian pride. It’s one of the lead tracks on his forthcoming album Neon Smoke.
“He’s an icon in Canadian music,” said Bamford. “For him to want to do the project was pretty great. When you write a song and you’re trying to find someone to be a part of it, he’s right at the top of the list.”
Recorded over a year-and-a-half, Bamford said he thinks its his best offering yet.
“It’s my eighth, but I feel like it’s my best one yet,” said Bamford, who was raised in Lacombe. “It goes back to a few years ago when I had a lot of success with a certain type of record.”
Neon Smoke will be released on Jan. 19. Bamford will also embark on a Canadian tour supporting the album, but doesn’t have a Red Deer date. The closest he will come to Central Alberta is on Feb. 21 in Camrose.
The 16-track album also includes the single Livin’ on Summertime, a summer party song. It cracked the top 10 on the Canadian Country Music charts.
After living in Nashville for a short period of time, Bamford has returned to live in Central Alberta. Most of the recording for the new album was done in Calgary at MCC Recording Studios.
“I’ve had my hands involved in it from start to finish,” he said. “Which has been a little different than the last records. I really made a record that my fans have been waiting for.
“I got to sit in on all the mixing and editing processes and I think it made a big difference this time around.”
While the album took about a year-and-a-half to get together, the songwriting predates that. Bamford said part of the reason he went to live in Nashville for two years, before recently returning to Central Alberta, was to hone his songwriting and work with his publisher down there.
“Country music, over the last decade, has really changed,” said Bamford. “There were no fiddles, it was Bro-country — whatever you want to call it, but it seems to be swinging back to more of what it was. This record is no different than what I’ve always done. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel, I try to do what I’m good at.”
Bamford said he is a fan of Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s music right now, but he still listens to the classics such as Alan Jackson.