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Blackie and the Rodeo Kings love their Queens

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2011

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Given its three members' own careers, it not surprisingly takes some effort to get Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson together in their joint venture, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

"It's a huge challenge to get us all together," says Linden, 51, who addition to being an artist in his own right has worked with Bruce Cockburn, The Band, Lucinda Williams, Leon Redbone and others. "Tom lives in Hamilton (Ontario), I'm in Nashville, Steve is in Halifax, our manager is in Vancouver. We've made sure it's almost impossible for us to get together -- and really impossible for us to make any money with it.

"But that insures we do it for the right reason, right? We love it so much it makes it worth it."

The trio's latest album, "Kings and Queens," has certainly made the work worthwhile. The 14-track set, which Linden produced and was conceived "fundamentally because we love women," features the Rodeo Kings working with female singers such as Williams, Rosanne Cash, Cassandra Wilson, Pam Tilly, Emmylou Harris and Bruce Springsteen's wife Patti Scialfa. That cast can't travel with the group, of course, but Linden says the songs still stand on their own.

"We do know how to play all on our own, without having guests," he explains. "When brought the songs to the table with duets in mind, but by the same token we also wanted it to still be Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. We wanted whoever our guest was on a given song to be like the fourth person in the band, but it hasn't been hard translating them live as a three-piece, either."

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call 734-761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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