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Blue Rodeo Recruits Ex-Wilco Guitarist?

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  • Source: JAM! Showbiz
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  • Date: 01-1-2000
TORONTO - Blue Rodeo is considering replacing fired steel guitarist Kim Deschamps with a former member of top American alt-country act Wilco.

Bob Egan has been in discussions about taking over Deschamps spot in Blue Rodeo, which recently completed work on a new album and is planning a big-ticket millennium show, according to the group's management.

Deschamps, who had been with the group since playing on the 1992, "Lost Together" sessions, was jettisoned Oct. 6 after a meeting with core band members Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, Bazil Donovan and Glenn Milchem at the group's office in Toronto.

Deschamp's overdubbed parts will be included and credited on Blue Rodeo's forthcoming album, likely titled "The Days In Between," due in January. But Deschamps will not be with the group when they perform a New Year's Eve show at Kee To Bala - a $250 per-ticket show at the Muskoka dancehall.

Deschamps, who was never a full member of the group, but had recorded and toured with Blue Rodeo regularly, said he was restricted in the amount he could say about the split, but said he wasn't given much of an explanation for his dismissal and didn't see it coming.

"Often at the end of the year, there is a meeting where we discuss things and I have been made a little happier. I assumed this was another one of those meetings," he said of his dismissal.

"I was not aware they were thinking of replacing me, or emptying my chair, as they said. They said they wanted to have the option of putting whoever they want into the mix," Deschamps said.

"There has been a lot of good experiences, a lot of good musical experiences. There are other things I could choose to look at in a positive way. I am definitely focused on what will happen next. I have got a whole bunch of offers," he said.

Deschamps, who did not regularly do publicity on behalf of Blue Rodeo, did give an interview to a Hamilton periodical in September and was quoted in a way that suggested Blue Rodeo would have a limited lifespan.

"Eventually, somebody is going to get tired, whether it is the audience or the band," Deschamps told the publication, and Deschamps said someone in the band had been concerned about his comments. "I had (the article) quoted to me," he said, but he said he doubted that was a factor in his ejection.

Band manager Susan de Cartier confirmed the groups has been in discussions with Egan - who recorded and toured with Wilco in recent years, has lately been opening solo dates for Cuddy and toured with Donovan - but said no replacement for Deschamps has been formalized. Egan may play some upcoming U.S. dates with Blue Rodeo to see if he'll fit in with the band, she said.

"He is sort of a natural person, because he is a friend of ours, and that tends to be where we reach. But it is nothing that has been firmed up as a replacement," de Cartier said.

"They just wanted a new, fresh musical approach…After eight years of working together, we wanted to open up that position, to open up some new options.

"Part of what is exciting about this, when you enter a new chapter, is the possibility it may be something quite different. Nothing is written in stone. We kept talking about doing horn sections on the tour, just fun musical textures," she said.

A single will likely be released next month, although de Cartier said the group is faced with a "glorious problem" of selecting from a strong album. "We're very proud of all the songs on the record. It's a nice problem to be in."

The core of the group traveled to New Orleans for two weeks to record the basic tracks for the new album, then overdubbed parts at The Tragically Hip's studio in Bath, near Kingston, Ont., de Cartier said.

Tickets for the Kee To Bala New Year's Eve show, which includes dinner and opening sets by The Sadies and LMT Connection, are available through Ticketmaster.
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