Editors' pick

Cross Canadian Ragweed

Country
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Editorial Review

Rachel Beckman reviewed a June 2007 Cross Canadian Ragweed performance for The Washington Post:

Based on Cross Canadian Ragweed's live albums, the Oklahoma band's home-turf concerts devolve into drunken singalongs. But during the country-rock quartet's 2 1/2 -hour set at the Birchmere on Tuesday, the audience of 20-somethings stayed mellow and head-bobby until the encore. Would the band regret its rare trip to the D.C. area? (It had been about three years, an eternity for a group that's on the road about 260 nights a year.) Nope.

"You guys are awesome," frontman Cody Canada said, after earning hearty applause for the obscure 1998 song "Jenny." "You guys are listening. Places where we play, where we come from, people just get drunk and throw [stuff]."

Ragweed is a linchpin of the "Red Dirt" country-rock scene in Texas and Oklahoma that includes artists like Stoney LaRue and Wade Bowen. The band cites Nirvana and Pantera as influences. Canada looked the rock-star part, festooned with silver jewelry and tattoos, including a gigantic cross on his left shoulder that he pointed out when his songs referenced Jesus.

What his lyrics lack in poetry, they make up for with moxie. He sang a couple of anti-industry rants, one with a chorus that went, "[Bleep] you, [bleep] Nashville." Canada introduced a tune about his sister as the meanest song he has ever written; in it, he tells her, "I wish my blood wasn't in your veins."

The highlight of the set came during the encore when Ragweed played its best song, "Alabama," a lament of long-distance love from the 2001 album "Highway 377." The audience belted out the hooky chorus with the passion and beer buzz of a red-dirt crowd.