Blue Rodeo singer Jim Cuddy has been in the music industry for decades, but he says he still enjoys connecting with his fans and learning of the impact of their music.

“It’s exciting, it never gets old,” says Cuddy in a phone interview with CTV Windsor. “People tell you that one of the songs that we play has been a part of their lives or has been a meaningful background to their life that was impactful. It’s incredibly exciting, gratifying.”

Cuddy says the Canadian music industry has changed a lot since he and Greg Keelor formed Blue Rodeo in the early 1980s.

In fact, the pair moved to New York City for three years to further their careers. 

“When we left for New York, Toronto had pretty much shut down. There wasn’t a lot of places for original bands to play. Now that’s unimaginable,” says Cuddy.

“There wasn’t a lot of Canadian bands getting signed that didn’t sound like somebody else.”

He credits their originality with having a hand in their success upon returning to Canada. He has this advice for people starting out in the business.

“The hope for success in the music industry is sometimes not the best way to go about being part of the music industry… Often you end up being imitative and what you really need to be is unique,” he says.

“I always say to people try to write your own songs or get with somebody who writes songs," says Cuddy. "Learn from the people that you admire, but try to be yourself.”

He says the digital age has changed the business, but Blue Rodeo still has an older audience that still buys records, CDs and downloads.

“The great thing about the digital age is that it’s allowed access to the whole world for musicians, the bad thing is it’s destroyed the revenue stream that used to come from selling records,” says Cuddy.

“That was the one thing that allowed you to pause after touring and write music and make a record. Right now bands are pretty dependant on touring for income.”

Cuddy says despite the challenges, the band still enjoys touring.

“We enjoy getting out on the road, but we get out on the road a fraction of what we used to,” he says.

They used to play about 250 times a year. He says the challenge of Canadian bands is to get out there and get everywhere.

Cuddy was just in Windsor in May to get an honourary Doctor Of Laws degree, and he’s returning on the CP Holiday Train Nov. 30 and for a Blue Rodeo show at Caesars Windsor on Dec. 1.

“I think that they understand that we’ll be doing bits and pieces of all of the records we’ve done,” says Cuddy. “We’re pretty loose and improvisational band so there’s going to be some things they haven’t heard before. It’ll be a composite of all of our history.”

Fans can expect some sing-alongs, especially to Ontario –themed song “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet.”

“We are very happy Ontario residents and it’s nice to have a song that people from Ontario can throw their head back and sing and be proud of where they’re from.”