Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame to induct Clarington’s Blue Rodeo star, four others

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Published May 30, 2024 at 2:24 pm

Blue Rodeo
Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo at the Orono Fair. Photo by Glenn Hendry

Country rock super group Blue Rodeo’s songwriting duo of Jim Cuddy and Clarington’s own Greg Keelor will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame this fall, along with Tom Cochrane, Sarah MacLachlan and Diane Tell.

The induction ceremony will be held September 28 at Massey Hall in Toronto.

Founded in 1998, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and their significant contributions, both domestically and globally.

“We are thrilled and honoured to announce this year’s esteemed group of inductees. Their immeasurable influence on fellow songwriters and profound impact on Canadian culture and music globally serve as a testament to the enduring power of song – Canadian song,” says Nick Fedor, Executive Director of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Those who have followed Blue Rodeo realize that the magic of the band’s sound and its soul is that co-leaders Cuddy and Keelor – who met in high school in Toronto – are distinctly different personalities that complement each other.

There are two definite songwriting voices within the band – and whatever they’re doing to bring those voices together has worked. In the 40 years since forming in 1984, Blue Rodeo has electrified the Canadian music scene, from Queen Street West in the early days to the Orono Fair – where they performed last year after organizers spent years convincing Keelor to play at what is essentially his home town – and from Vancouver to  Keelor’s birth province of Nova Scotia.

Blue Rodeo has sold more than four million albums, received countless JUNO Award wins and nominations, been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, been named to the Order of Canada and been honoured with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.

The iconic Tom Cochrane is a born storyteller, his songwriting informed by a deep social conscience. Born in the northern Manitoba town of Lynn Lake, raised in Etobicoke and a long-time resident of Oakville, Cochrane has released 17 albums as solo artist and band leader. Cochrane is a member of the Order of Canada, Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. He is a 25-time JUNO Award nominee with eight wins (including the JUNO Humanitarian Award), a SOCAN Cultural Impact Award recipient and a Grammy Award nominee. Cochrane continues to headline festivals across Canada with Red Rider and as a solo artist.

Sarah McLachlan, who is appearing next month at Toronto’s waterfront Budweiser Stage on her Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th Anniversary Tour, is one of Canada’s most celebrated singer-songwriters with more than 40 million albums sold worldwide. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Achievement and is a Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee.

Sarah McLachlan

In addition to her personal artistic efforts, McLachlan founded the Lilith Fair tour, which showcased female musicians and brought two million-plus people together during its three-year run. The music festival raised more than $7 million for local and national charities and was the most successful all-female music event. In 2002 she founded her non-profit Sarah McLachlan School of Music, which provides high quality music education and mentorship free to children and youth facing various barriers to access.

Diane Tell is one of Québec’s pioneering female singer-songwriters, an emblematic figure of the Francophonie, recognized for her exceptional talent as a lyricist and for her unique voice. Her rich and diverse career spans several decades and is marked by hits that have transcended borders and generations.

She first developed a passion for composing and writing in her teens, and during her prolific career has released a dozen albums of original songs, an album of previously unpublished adaptations of jazz standards and a musical, Marilyn Montreuil, in which she composed the music and played the leading role in more than 180 performances. Tell’s career has been recognized with several awards and distinctions for her significant contribution to music: she won a Victoire de la musique in France and six Félix Awards (plus 15 additional nominations) and was named Chevalier des arts et lettres de France in 2023. She is appreciated by audiences thanks to her inexhaustible creativity, her gift for touching hearts and awakening consciences, and her ability to evolve while preserving the essence of her art.

Each awardee will receive a customized development plan from ceremony sponsor Amazon Music, which will include playlisting on the app, high-profile songwriting sessions and camps, travel support, and access to international recording studios.

Following the induction celebration, the Class of 2024 will be honoured at the Hall of Fame’s permanent location at Studio Bell at the National Music Centre in Calgary, which features exclusive artifacts and one-of-a-kind memorabilia celebrating Canada’s greatest songwriters and inductees.

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