Blue Rodeo is a Canadian country rock band formed in 1984 in Toronto, Ontario. Five Days in July is their fifth studio album, and was released by WEA on October 26, 1993. The band’s most commercially successful album, it has been certified six times platinum as of 2008.
The album was recorded on singer/guitarist Greg Keelor‘s farm in Southern Ontario in July 1993. While the band originally intended for the recordings to serve only as demos, they found that the songs had a warmth and spontaneity that warranted releasing the collection as an album. Guest musicians on the album include Sarah McLachlan, Colin Linden and Anne Bourne. This album was keyboardist James Gray’s first album with the band.
This album is supposed to be a tribute to the Harvest-era Neil Young sound. “5 Days in May”, “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” and “Bad Timing” were notable hit singles for the band.
Blue Rodeo‘s best album — and the first of a trilogy of brilliant records that would feature the band at its most epic, brave, and experimental (also featuring Nowhere to Here and Tremolo) — Five Days in July began with Daniel Lanois‘ advice to the bandmembers that they not be confined by a recording studio, so they dragged their equipment out to Greg Keelor‘s farmland home and made what is essentially the ultimate “campfire” album. With the exception of the dynamite harmonic cover of Rodney Crowell‘s “Till I Gain Control Again,” the songs have a loose, stoney feel about them — both Keelor‘s and Jim Cuddy‘s works feel like they just kind of organically evolved, which actually makes a whole lot of sense given the circumstances under which they were written and recorded.
This is the album that at once solidified Blue Rodeo‘s position as the main trailblazers of contemporary alt-country and one that became a career-defining benchmark by which all their later work would be measured. The fact that their Small Miracles tour in 2008 was still made up of half of this record should be indicative of its incredible importance in the Blue Rodeo canon. The big hits are here (“Bad Timing,” “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” “5 Days in May”), as are some hauntingly famous cameos by Sarah McLachlan (“Dark Angel,” “Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream”). With the exception of a few upbeat feel-good numbers along the way, the album is a pretty mellow affair — a perfect record for perfectly endless listenability.
This was the album in which all of Blue Rodeo‘s artistic and commercial ambitions would come to fruition: to create epic, rootsy, melodic rock; to break through big commercially (in Canada, at least, where they very rightly became huge megastars); and to create for the world new instant classic solid albums — not just random collections of songs, but the type of flawless album that leaves listeners already breathlessly anticipating what will await them on the next release. Five Days in July is the quintessential and — along with Nowhere to Here and Tremolo — defining moment of Blue Rodeo‘s career to date, and it is proof positive as to why they have remained Canada’s all-time greatest band ever since. It would seem an impossible act to follow, if Blue Rodeo hadn’t already so effortlessly done so. A bona fide classic, in every sense of the word.
1. “5 Days in May” – 7:12
2. “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” – 5:14
3. “Bad Timing” – 5:09
4. “Cynthia” – 4:40 (Vocals – Anne Bourne)
5. “Photograph” – 4:10
6. “What is This Love” – 6:16 (Vocals – Sarah McLachlan)
7. “English Bay” – 3:20
8. “Head Over Heels” – 4:01
9. “‘Til I Gain Control Again” (Rodney Crowell) – 4:29
10. “Dark Angel” – 5:16 (Vocals – Sarah McLachlan)
11.”Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream” – 9:22 (Vocals – Sarah McLachlan)
All songs by Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy, except where noted.
- Manufactured By – Warner Music Canada Ltd
- Distributed By – Warner Music Canada Ltd
- Phonographic Copyright (p) – Blue Rodeo Productions
- Copyright (c) – Blue Rodeo Productions
- Pressed By – Cinram
- Bass – Bazil Donovan
- Chimes, Rainstick – Caroline Richardson
- Drums – Glenn Milchem
- Keyboards, Accordion – James Gray
- Mastered By – Greg Calbi
- Mixed By – John Whynot
- Producer – Blue Rodeo
- Recorded By – Doug McClement, Peter Hamilton
- Steel Guitar [Pedal & Lap], Mandolin, Banjo – Kim Deschamps
- Vocals, Guitar – Greg Keelor
- Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica – Jim Cuddy
Released: October 26, 1993
Recorded by Comfort Sound Mobile, Toronto
Mixed at Reaction Studios, Manta Eastern Sound
Mastered at Sterling Sound
Genre: Country rock
Label – WEA Records