On the Edge: The Departed

(From left) Chris Doege, Seth James, Cody Canada, Steve Littleton and Jeremy Plato
photo by Todd Purifoy/T. Canon Media

If you caught Dierks Bentley’s 2006 High Times and Hangovers Tour, you saw one of his favorite bands, Cross Canadian Ragweed, open the show. Sadly, after releasing nine albums, four of which hit the Top 10, Ragweed dissolved in 2010, but that also started an incredible musical evolution.

Original CCR vocalist and guitar player Cody Canada immediately called the band’s bass player—his brother-in-law—Jeremy Plato, and asked, “What are we going to do?” Jeremy’s simple reply? “We’re going to play rock ’n’ roll.” He then called childhood pal Seth James and old friend Steve Littleton, and a new band was formed. As Cody Canada and The Departed they released This Is Indian Land, a mostly country album with rock sensibilities. “That was the record I wanted to do for seven or eight years,” Cody says. “I think that was the learning record for this band. And I think what we’ve done with Adventus is extremely different from what Indian Land was.” 

Indeed it is, including dropping his name and rebranding the band simply as The Departed. With Adventus, not only does the music become mostly rock with country sensibilities, The Departed also adopts a clear-cut band mentality. Lead vocals are swapped between Cody, Jeremy and Seth. “I’ve always wanted to be in a band where I didn’t have to sing all the time because I love kicking back and playing guitar,” explains Cody. “Sometimes when I’m singing the lead part of a song, I kind of miss what everybody is doing.” 

They also write in every configuration possible, both within and outside the band. “Writing Adventus was pretty easy,” Cody tells us. “We were touring and I’d wake up in the morning and Seth and Jeremy would be in the back writing a song. I’d pop in and all of a sudden we were all three writing the song. The next day I’d bring a song to Seth and before you know it, it was me, Seth and Steve.” What wasn’t easy was the inspiration behind many of the tunes on Adventus. “People in bands had died. We lost two moms in this band,” he remembers. The aching “Sweet Lord” more than adequately expresses the angst of loss, but it isn’t all sad. He admits that he has a penchant for angry songs—“It’s like therapy to me”—and that is evident in cuts such as “Flag Pole.” But there’s a tender side as well. The sweet “250,000 Things,” with a guest appearance from Cody’s young son, Willie, will melt anyone’s heart. But it’s the kick-off track, the in-your-face rocker “Worth the Fight,” that showcases the band’s evolution.

It took a year and a half to complete Adventus for a good reason. “We wanted to take the time to write and get these songs finely tuned so people would know that this was our next step,” Cody explains. “We wanted to make it perfect.”

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