Cody Canada been has rocking the Red Dirt scene for 26 years now. And the man is only 45 years old. So there’s plenty of “rocking” ahead.
Cody fronted Cross Canadian Ragweed for 16 years (1994–2010), before his current gig at the helm of The Departed (2011 to the present) with Jeremy Plato (bass) and Eric Hansen (drums). During his quarter-century quest, Cody has dropped more than a dozen albums, including fan favorites Soul Gravy (CCR, 2004) and 3 (Departed, 2018). He also released an outstanding solo acoustic project in 2013, Some Old, Some New, Maybe a Cover of Two.
Back on the Red Dirt road where he belongs, we caught up to Cody for Outsider‘s 5 Questions.
1. How does it feel to still be carrying the Red Dirt torch after more than 25 years?
Cody Canada: That’s a high order, but I feel like that we are. I feel like that we have to continue to. We were just talking about Robert Earl Keen, and Robert Earl carries the torch for all Texans. And I feel like that we [The Departed], and [Jason] Boland and Stoney [LaRue], that’s a job we have to do.
2. What’s coming down the pike with new Departed music?
Cody Canada: I’m writing a lot, but I haven’t really finished. Like to finish in the studio with [producer Mike] McClure. I have all these ideas, and I just kind of dump them on Mike. And then we finish it as we record. We are planning on doing a reboot of Soul Gravy because we don’t own those recordings. The label owns it. And that’s really stupid that they do that. But I want to reboot it. We did a fan poll and they wanted that record. I want to have my kids [sons Dierks and Willy] involved and have Jeremy [Plato’s] boy on bass and just kind of a reboot for that. But when it comes to new stuff, I mean, it’s all just sitting there waiting for me to finish it.
3. Speaking of Robert Earl Keen, do you recall opening for REK at the New Daisy Theatre in Memphis circa 2005?
Cody Canada: Sounds about right. I do. I do. There were tattoos acquired that night. Yeah, I do. I remember every show with Robert. I really do. He’s my hero. That tour that we did with Robert took us seven years to nail down because he wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t sign on. We finally nailed it, finally got to go on tour with him. That night in Memphis, I asked him, “Why’d it take you so long?” He goes, “I thought you guys were just a bunch of hacks.”
4. What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Cody Canada: I saw Eddie Vedder acoustic in Austin at Bass Hall. Probably one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life. I saw STP [Stone Temple Pilots] a hundred times. Vegas was awesome, but Eddie Vedder acoustic in Austin was probably the [best]. The reason why, there was a dude outside, sitting on the curb, singing Pearl Jam songs. And Eddie sent his people out to get him and brought him in, as a surprise to him and to us. And brought that dude on stage and he sang “Garden.” Who does that? You know what I mean? That’s taking care of your people.
5. Do you have a Texas BBQ rec for us?
Cody Canada: One: Cooper’s BBQ in New Braunfels, Texas. [Also in] Llano, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Katy, Texas. Cooper’s BBQ is the best. They have a pork chop, a smoked pork chops, that’s [huge]. It has just that little thin layer of fat on it. It’s the best thing ever. We get a lot of barbecue. A lot of people in Texas bring us barbecue and say it’s the best barbecue in Texas. Like yeah, bullshit. Cooper’s is the one.