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Tom Cochrane and Red Rider riding high on big body of work for Lethbridge Music Festival

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Life has been an interesting, winding highway for Ontario based songwriter Tom Cochrane.

In addition to playing the Lethbridge Music Festival at Spitz Stadium, July 23, he is gearing up for a big tour in support of the 25th anniversary reissue of “Mad Mad World,” which spawned a number of hits including “Life Is A Highway,” “Mad Mad World, “ No Regrets” and “ Sinking Like a Sunset.Tom Cochrane plays the Lethbridge Music Festival, July 23. Photo submitted

“I’m busy re-recording. We found some great old demos from the Mad Mad World, and I’ll be singing a couple of duets,” Cochrane said, heading to his cabin on Georgian Bay before hitting the road again.
He always enjoys coming back to Southern Alberta.

Cochrane has always done things his way.
“All I ever wanted to to do was write songs that were timeless. And I think I’ve done that. I never cared about following trends,” he said.

“I remember when we were writing ‘Lunatic Fringe,’ and the recording engineer and said John Lennon had been shot. And I said ‘that’s a bad joke’ He said it’s no joke and people started telling us to change it and asking ‘what are you writing in here’. Well John Lennon always wore his heart on his sleeve and wouldn’t have changed a thing. So we didn’t. And the next thing we knew it spent 16 weeks on the Album Oriented Rock charts and set some sort of a record,” he said noting he never knows what songs will become hits.

“‘Big League’ is the perfect example of that. I remember  my wife told me, what are your writing that for, you don’t have a son. And I said it’s a story someone told me,” he recalled.

“ I had a good feeling about ‘Boy (Inside the Man). Another example is ‘White Hot’ I never thought a song about a French poet would be a hit. But we were playing it  for Canada Day in Surrey for 40,000 people and everybody was singing the verses, not just the chorus. A lot of people sing choruses, but not usually verses, so it was an amazing feeling,” he said.

 He has been playing some country music festivals.
“ I was playing a country festival in Kitchener with  Zac Brown and Eric Church. There’s some great rock and roll being made there,” he observed.
He said the success of “Life As A Highway” surprised him.

 “Is it the best song I’ve ever written? Probably not. I had a hit with it in 1991 and Rascal Flatts had a hit with it and Chris LeDoux and some other people.”

He said it is important as an artist to keep recording new music, though he knows most people come to the shows to hear the hits.

“ That‘s true for a lot of people, but there is always  a core of people who are really supportive of new material. A lot of people keep a diary to record their thoughts, to me the songs remain an opportunity to record my thoughts and my heartaches and my history,” he said.

 He always looks as albums as a body of work, rather than just a collection of singles.

“Album is almost a dirty word now when people download singles a one at a time. For me it has always been more important to have a body of work and I’ve been blessed to have one to draw from,” he continued.

When he isn’t making music and performing, he enjoys a variety of outdoors activities including golf.
“ I haven’t done much of that lately though. I enjoy swimming out at the cottage and canoeing and sitting around a campfire like a lot of Canadians do,” he said.
 Tom Cochrane and Red Rider play the Lethbridge Music Festival at 9:30 p.m. at Spitz Stadium, July 23.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 July 2016 10:09 )  
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