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An Interview with... 
Cross Canadian Ragweed

Interview with Cross Canadian Ragweed

Question: Would you please introduce yourself to the readers and tell us something about your history.

Answer: I'm Cody Canada (lead guitar, lead vocals) my band mates are Randy Ragsdale on drums, Grady cross is our rhythm guitar player, and Jeremy Plato is our bassist. We're Cross Canadian Ragweed. We've been together almost 10 years now. We grew up together, and have been friends since we were kids. We started playing locally around Oklahoma in high school and grew from there. 

Question: Country Music has many new fans in Europe who may be learning about you for the first time. How would you describe the music you play to someone who's never seen or heard you before?

Answer: That's a tough one for us - in America we're considered Alt-country, but we really have a sound of our own. I guess southern rock would describe us best.

Question: What is your current CD and how is it doing?

Answer: We released our latest album, Soul Gravy, March 9th and sold 30,000 copied the first 2 weeks. It was our first record to debut on the Billboard Chart. It debuted at #5 on the Country Chart.

Question: How did you find the title for the CD and what inspired you?

Answer: Everything inspires us - life, love, fear, you name it. The title came from a brainstorming session - we were kidding around on the bus and I said how about Plaid Gravy? Our sound tech, Chris McCoy, put his boot out in front of me acting like he was going to kick me in the face and I said Sole Gravy. That evolved to Soul Gravy. "Fattening music for your ass."

Question: Do you write you own songs and if not, how do you go about finding songs for your albums?

Answer: I wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the album except for one. That one is by Ray Wylie Hubbard. Ray played our Waylon Tribute with us and I got up to play "Wanna Rock and Roll" with him and it was a blast. Our producer, Mike McClure, was there with us and he said "you guys need to record that". I said, "that's exactly what I was going to say."

Question: What's your favorite song among all the songs you've recorded and what's the story behind it?

Answer: That's impossible to answer. The songs I write for my wife are important to me - Constantly, Flowers, Run to Me...there are several others too though.

Question: How much creative control do you have over your music?

Answer: 100%

Question: There's a lot of work that goes into a number one hit ... what's it take to make it?

Answer: Don't know yet. We're not considered mainstream, so it's a tough fight for us to get radio play.

Question: How much do your songs influence your audience?

Answer: I think a lot. We get a lot of feedback about how certain songs hit home, or help people through difficult times. It makes it all worth the hard work.

Question: The internet is playing a bigger and bigger part in the world of music. Has the internet hurt or helped you and how would you like to see it evolve?

Answer: It's helped us a lot. Before we were signed to a label it was a great tool to get our music out there. As far as evolving. I'm not very computer literate, so I can't really answer that.

Question: Who do you look up to musically and where do your musical roots come from?

Answer: Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Strait, Stone Temple Pilots, Lynryd Skynryd. We have very diverse influences.

Question: What do you think about today's Country Music versus it's roots and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer: I think today's country is too superficial. I hope it goes back to it's roots - back to being honest and from the heart. Not some pretty guy or gal standing there with no instrument singing someone else's song.

Question: If you had a chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

Answer: Just that. I would try to make it honest again. Make the artist a bigger part of the business.

Question: As an artist you have so many different things you have to do such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like doing the best, what's your favorite activity?

Answer: We love to tour. We play around 250 shows a year and we love being on the road. Recording is fun too though. I like most interviews, although you have the occasional uninformed person asking the same old thing.

Question: How did you get into Country Music ... is there a story behind it?

Answer: Music was always around growing up. When my parents split I found solace in playing the guitar and it grew from there.

Question: Before you became a star, where your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

Answer: Back and forth. Friends were always supportive. Our families wanted us to go to college and what not. Just like all parents, but we stuck to our guns and when they realized we were serious they supported us. Randy's Dad was always a big supporter. He taught us a lot musically.

Question: Has your journey to success been a hard or an easy road?

Answer: It's been tough at times, but always fun. We are a tight group of friends and that made the difficult times easier.

Question: What drives you? What inspired you to become an artist?

Answer: Our passion for music drives us the most. And the need to feed our families. Inspiration came from all over, but mainly the love of music - of all types.

Question: What does it take to be a Country Star?

Answer: Not sure yet. For us - a lot of hard work, but I don't think we're stars. We're just musician who love what we do.

Question: What's unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?

Answer: I think our bond. Everything we do we do as a family. My wife manages us, and the other guys wives are on the road with us some. Our live show is a lot different than most too. A lot of energy and songs more on the rock side. We love to cover bands that we dig like Stone Temple Pilots and Ted Nugent.

Question: What's the best thing about being a star and what's the hardest thing?

Answer: Again, I don't think we're really stars, but it's cool to hear about how your music has affected peoples' lives. The hardest thing is probably our schedule - we miss home a lot.

Question: What's your greatest challenge been in the music business?

Answer: Radio.

Question: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you're proud of?

Answer: Playing Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic was awesome. The #5 debut was cool. Every small achievement is important to us.

Question: Who's your biggest critic, yourself or others?

Answer: Us for sure.

Question: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Answer: I like to kayak, fish and play music. Grady and Randy like to golf. Jeremy has a motorcycle he loves to ride. It always comes back to playing though.

Question: What private hopes and desires do you have?

Answer: A happy, forever-lasting marriage. To raise happy and healthy families. 

Question: What's the biggest disappointment in your life been?

Answer: We lost Randy's little sister in a car accident when she was 9. That's been the most difficult thing for us.

Question: Many European fans travel to Nashville for Fan Fair/ CMA Music Festival because of the opportunity to see so many of their favorite stars at the same time. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?

Answer: We haven't done Fan Fair / CMA Music Festival. We're usually on the road playing.

Question: When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

Answer: Not very often. We had a few days off in New York once and got to see some of the city.

Question: Can your European fans look forward to seeing you in concert in the future?

Answer: We'll be in France in July for the Country Rendez-Vou Festival.

Question: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what information can the fans find out about you on the internet?

Answer: Yeah, our site is www.crosscanadianragweed.com. You can pretty much find out everything about us there.

Question: What are your plans for the future and how can new fans keep informed about you?

Answer: We'll be on the road playing gigs. We have a lot of different groups and communities to join on our web site. 

Question: What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

Answer: Probably having our music help them through the loss of a loved one. We hear that a lot about the song "On A Cloud".

Question: What's your favorite song that you didn't record and why?

Answer: I really don't have one. I listen to a lot of different music.

Question: What message would you like to send to your European fans?

Answer: Come check out the live show! Hopefully they'll dig the fact that our music is honest and from the heart.

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )
CSO European Contributing Journalist


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