Cody Canada was 16 years old when he arrived in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He found a creative nirvana of musicians who planted seeds that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Cody recalls, "I met Tom Skinner, Scott Evans, Bob Childers, Jimmy LaFave, Mike McClure, the Red Dirt Rangers and they were all playing this really, really good music. It was kind of in that same vibe as the Allman Brothers and The Band. But what came out of it was really diverse. There were more country acts like Jason Boland. The All American Rejects were the rock guys. Then you had the whole Red Dirt hippie thing… I didn’t even know what Red Dirt was until somebody told me. I got turned on to it all and it’s stayed with me ever since."
Canada was front man for Cross Canadian Ragweed for fifteen years, where he tapped into those influences for their nine albums, four of which charted on Billboard’s Top 10 Country Albums Chart. They sold over a million albums and played to sell-out crowds, bringing the term "Red Dirt" to the nation. When Cross Canadian Ragweed decided to part ways, Cody resurfaced with a mission in mind, to pay homage to the Red Dirt writers and music that were formative. The Departed"s first priority was getting into the studio and cutting the Oklahoma tribute album that Cody had wanted to do for years. "This is Indian Land" came out in 2011, a 15-track "buffet of really kick-ass Okie songs," Canada noted.
It’s admirable when a musician gets back to his roots, there’s no questioning that. But in a lot of ways, it’s even more admirable when an artist has no need to do that – having never lost touch with those roots in the first place. Jason Boland falls squarely into the latter category, having spent the better part of the last 15 years entrenching himself in the so-called "red dirt" of his native state of Oklahoma and adopted home in Texas and while spreading his musical branches to cover a remarkable amount of territory.
"I’ve always thought it was important to keep one foot in tradition and the other pointed in the direction you want to go," says Boland. "I didn’t invent the G chord, so I’m standing on the shoulders of the giants that did, and on the shoulders of some great songwriters that have come before me. I’m using an old stencil, but adding my own colors."