War Torn Man

Americana-UK (full review click here)

Every now and again an album comes along that right from the opening bars you just know it’s gonna be on the nail. This is such an album. Before this cd landed on my desk I’d never heard of Rodney DeCroo. Now I can’t get enough of him.
Readily compared to Steve Earle, Neil Young, Dylan, John Prine and Gram Parson there are shades of them all here. A composite if you like. His rootsy sound gets better with every listen. A story teller par excellence. Recorded live at ‘The Sidetrack’, Edmonton, this album came about following a falling out with a producer whilst they were attempting to record a studio album. So the soundman at a routine gig asked permission to record the show and ‘War Torn Man’ is in the can. DeCroo says it came about as a “…..kind of accident, to be honest with you”.

The Fulcrum

Rodney Decroo - War Torn Man - A+

Rodney Decroo’s newest release, War Torn Man, marks a search for the artist’s freedom from his past. The poet/musician dedicates the album to his father, a Vietnam veteran. Decroo anchors his music in his poetry, such that where the poetry ends and the music begins is impossible to discern. Pieces such as "Rain Rain" show us the man’s thoughts between the drops, searching for an escape from his reality, in a kind of Bachian fugue. "War Torn Man" represents the psychology of a permanent impact, a footprint in a man’s history. Decroo incites his listeners to think as though music were a higher expression of philosophy.
—Jobani Tejeda

See Magazine (Edmonton)
Sidetrack derailed
But Rodney DeCroo’s live masterwork still on ’Track
Sat, Mar 18, 4 pm, Black Dog Freehouse (10425 Whyte Ave), Info: 439-1082
It’s highly recommended that you make the trek down to see him debut the songs from War Torn Man, which we can add to the exalted ranks of kick ass live albums–from Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan to The Who’s Live at Leeds.

NOW Magazine
NOW | MARCH 16 - 22, 2006 | VOL. 25 NO. 2
Rating: NNNN
This album knocked me out within 30 seconds of hitting 'play' and has continued to relentlessly beat the shit out of me. Not that I'd expect DeCroo to show me any mercy. He's a tough-as-nails, bearded bastard who recalls Dylan circa his Rolling Thunder Revue days. War Torn Man finds him in his live element, live onstage, encouraging those in attendance to eat out of his hand but slapping them in the face when they get close. DeCroo's blue-collar work ethic inhabits every tune, and even the homey bass lines from former Spirit of the West member Linda McRae can't put a spit shine on DeCroo's rough edges and two-packs-a-day voice. The chemistry between DeCroo and guitarist Jon Wood suggests they may have been separated at birth, and it's this gritty cohesiveness and Wood's excellent fretwork that take this album from very good to fantastic.

Brent Raynor  NOW | MARCH 16 - 22, 2006 | VOL. 25 NO. 29


Globe & Mail (National)
War Torn Man Rodney DeCroo - Northern Electric***
The high, ripped-lung voice of Rodney DeCroo takes only a few seconds to get used to, and the Vancouver-by-Pennsylvania singer-songwriter has a history, with things on his mind. On a live recording from Edmonton's Sidetrack club, the Dylan-goes-grunge thing is pretty cool, with a coppery electric guitarist Jon Wood who's a star too. The sad Standing in the Doorway should be a country classic. Gritty passion abounds, but then comes the last-track title song, where a Vietnam vet's son sings starkly about a father with a bombed-out heart. Suddenly the rest of the album seems awfully puny in comparison. That says plenty, mister -- and don't you dare ask for an encore. The show is done, and well done. -- B.W.

Vue Weekly - Edmonton



Live albums tend to get a bad rap, in large part because the sound of so many of them tends to degenerate into unexciting greatest-hits overviews that lack the polish of their studio counterparts.

There are exceptions to the rule, however, and Rodney DeCroo’s War Torn Man is one of them. The album was recorded live at the Sidetrack Café, but it’s not a simple regurgitation of things he’s already done; instead, the record features 12 new songs and one old one that DeCroo felt was worth revisiting with his band The Killers (no, not those Killers).

“It wasn’t our intention to record an album that night,” DeCroo remembers. “Graham [Caddel, the Sidetrack’s sound man] just offered to record the show for us and I had just had a falling out with a producer that I’d been working with on an album that was just about done. I didn’t have the album available to me anymore and I was kind of freaking out because Richard [Chapman] at Northern-Electric was expecting a record.”

DeCroo’s worries turned out to be for nothing, though; after hearing the tapes, Chapman wanted to release them as the new album and it didn’t take much to convince DeCroo, an avowed fan of the spontaneous energy found in the best live recordings. The album captures DeCroo & the Killers fighting their way through the songs, leaving the tattered edges untouched, and that’s exactly what DeCroo likes about it.

“That’s been the sound that I’ve wanted to hear from the beginning, where everybody’s tight, but let’s get it as loose as possible within that,” he explains. “I’m just not big on dubbing. My first album was all live off the floor. There was no dubbing, so doing it this way was just the logical conclusion of that.” V

Sat, Mar 18 (4 - 6 pm)
Rodney DeCroo
With John Guliak & The New Lougans
The Black Dog, no cover

Winnipeg Sun

Rodney DeCroo • War Torn Man • Northern Electric | Universal

Lots of guys can sing like Bob Dylan
Hardly any write songs that are thrillinz
But DeCroo's words ring true
He rocks like Neil, too
On this live set, he's ready and willing


Georgia Straight - Vancouver

Rodney Decroo / War Torn Man
By Adrian Mack
Publish Date: 9-Mar-2006

Rodney DeCroo’s gift to the listener with this live album is two-fold. Firstly, he saves us the trouble of going to Edmonton, where War Torn Man was recorded. More significantly, the record documents an all-star band with a fully stretched set of road legs. There are more than a few casual miracles of musicianship scattered across its 13 original tracks, like the covert way bassist Linda McRae establishes the melodic backbone of “Mississippi”.

The finesse is such that you wouldn’t notice unless some jackass whistle blower mentions it in a review.

Or there’s drummer Ed Goodine’s sleight of hand in “Sheltering Sky”, where he brings the band to heel for an anti-chorus that sounds as if it’s backing out of the song. The MVP might be guitarist Jon Wood, however. In the fabulously angry “Leechburg”, he tosses off a couple of stammering and inarticulate solos that draw directly from the track’s animus.

As for DeCroo himself, he’s inevitably compared to manful icons like Kris Kristofferson and Steve Earle, which is fair enough; he’s at his best in wide-screen midtempo rockers like “Standing in the Doorway”, which are defined by the tension between a big heart and emotional reticence. The payoff is in such lovely and mysterious images as “the highway that runs through your hands and your hair”, from “Peruvian Waltz”, or the adventurous chord changes of “Black Smoke”. War Torn Man only comes a cropper in the strictly genre-oriented numbers, like the undercooked gonzo-hillbilly shuffle of “When I Was a Boy”. Even then, the transplanted Pennsylvanian sidesteps his limitations by employing his art to talk back to life. In this case, in addressing the actions of a certain Mr. Bush, the conversation isn’t cordial.

Scene&Heard - Toronto
There isn’t a note or a line on the CD that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from the heart. You can tell Rodney DeCroo loves to do what he does. He is known for his extensive touring schedule, and having DeCroo release his album live captures him in his natural element of performing in front of his many fans.

Vue Weekly - Edmonton

For the first few minutes of Rodney DeCroo’s Saturday afternoon set, it seemed as though the crowd was going to be sparse, possibly due to the unexpected change in venue from the Sidetrack Café to the Black Dog and, you know, the blizzard. Thankfully, the bar filled up by the end of the second song and DeCroo put everything he had into every tune, singing and hammering on his acoustic guitar like a rambling troubadour shedding a few tears for love and shaking both fists at injustice, cutting straight to the heart and earning rousing cheers from those who braved the weather to come out. —EDEN MUNRO /


SEE magazine - Edmonton

Rodney DeCroo, War Torn Man, Northern Electric.
DeCroo channels mid-to-late ‘70s Dylan so perfectly you sometimes wonder if you’re listening to Street Legal outtakes. He’s got the nasty tongue, the nicotine-sharpened wheezing bellow that sounds like a man on the verge of expiration, the tendency to mythologize himself. Good thing he’s got the tunes to support such a conceit ("Bring It On" is like a knife left in a wound), and the smarts to surround himself with excellent musicians.

Georgia Straight - Vancouver
Music Choices

Rodney Decroo
Publish Date: 23-Feb-2006
There’s not a note or line on War Torn Man, the new Rodney DeCroo album, that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from the heart and soul of a whiskey-lovin’ freight-train jumper who’s seen more than his fair share of ups and downs. For added authenticity, it helps that the record’s angry folk-blues tunes were recorded live in a bar, with a crack team of some of Vancouver’s finest musicians, including Linda McRae, Jon Wood, and Ed Goodine, backing DeCroo. For a night devoted to tales of dead ends and wrong turns, be at the Marine Club on Friday (February 24) for the War Torn Man release party. And if you’re drinking, may we suggest Jack, straight with no chaser.


Red Cat News - Vancouver
*Rodney DeCroo - War Torn Man (Northern Electric)
Recorded live at Edmonton's Sidetrack Cafe, War Torn Man is Rodney DeCroo's tribute to his Father... a man destroyed by his service in the Vietnam War. Considering that there is another generation of walking time bombs being created as we speak, Rodney's album has a resonance today that is both sad and chilling. In the hallowed murder ballad / protest song tradition of such Folk / Country icons as Phil Ochs, Steve Earle and Nick Cave, War Torn Man goes to some dark places... places where, even if you can shine a light, you might not be happy about what you see.


FFWD Weekly - Calgary
Life-torn man
Rodney Decroo puts his demons to rest

Saturday, March 11
Hifi Club
The life-torn man with the well-worn voice comes up with a live CD recorded at Edmonton’s Side Track Café for this, his second album entitled War Torn Man. It is a strangely intense recording, for listening to Decroo and his band knit together this performance one note at a time has the same tense, riveting feel as watching a drunkard stagger upon a tightrope where a net is a wish best saved for another day. They sound like a do-or-die band, and fortunately, they do.

The Pittsburgh native, who has lived in Canada for many years, came from a holy roller background in which he always felt the pull of the devil’s music on his soul.

"The funny thing was, I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was 33. My family were southern Baptists, pretty strict on the religious side of things and I wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music as a kid. I always knew I would do this, nonetheless," Decroo says.

He was recently divorced, unemployed and crashing at a friend’s house when he spied a guitar in the corner.

"I was looking at it and knew it was time." Within a few months, he had a band and was gigging. With a background working as a waiter, miner, journalist, construction worker and even a stock promoter, glimpses into the survival struggles of the "everyman" were the stuff of Decroo’s life. But it is likely the years he has spent as a poet – he also has published a poetry book – that made the songs come early, often, and with teeth.

With accenting performances from Spirit of the West’s Linda McRae and Ed Goodine from Ray Condo’s band, the songs speak against the rage one feels about sinking into the mundane.

Of the songs and where they come from, Decroo is frank.

"I find that it’s kind of organic. I sit down with a guitar, a line will come – I try to trust the process. I just write out of my life."

The Tyee - Vancouver
Rodney DeCroo's new live album (recorded at Edmonton's legendary Sidetrack Cafe) is dedicated to his Dad, a Vietnam veteran, a Father who was never the same after his tour of duty. It is especially apropos these days as it seems as though America is in the process of creating another generation of "war torn men." If Stephen Harper has his way, Canada might be about to do so too. Rodney comes from the Folk/Country school of music, and his songs here are very beautiful, but they are not "pretty" or "nice." They speak of dark pasts and horrible deeds. But as a eulogy to a life damaged beyond recognition, it has a realism and poignancy that speak of an understanding of the way life is, rather than the way it should be.

The Gleamer - Fredericton, NB
February 18, 2006 edition • On The Record By Wilfred Langmaid

Rodney DeCroo : War Torn Man – Northern Electric / Universal

Rodney DeCroo is a hidden Canadian music treasure, but look for the genie to escape the bottle with his new release War Torn Man. Two years ago, DeCroo’s album Rodney DeCroo and the Killers was a nice collection dominated by Dylanesque vignettes. However, this new live album, which was released Feb. 14, shows the broader range of his talents. In the process, it shows how DeCroo and his band have grown together.

Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, DeCroo has lived in Canada for years. His entire rich life is fodder for his remarkable lyrical gifts, and this album shows off those lyrics within a range of rootsy styles that include Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Townes VanZandt, and Brit pop besides the Dylan reminiscences.

However, DeCroo is far beyond a derivative act. These styles are just reference points for a guy who has the tools to develop his own rich canon.

Recorded live off the floor last fall in Edmonton, this album kicks off with the same song that opened the 2004 studio disc. The minor chord toggle and the vocal inflections of Bring It On reveal an obvious Dylan reference point that is neither affected nor intrusive. This tale of a searching pilgrim who is defiant but still hopeful is in synch with many of DeCroo’s rich tales.

By the same token, one could simplistically say that Rain Rain is the sonic second cousin to Dylan’s You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere. Conversely, one could more accurately celebrate that it is part of the work of a prolific poet, lyricist, and songwriter who also has a book of poetry out with another on the way and who plans 2 other collaborative albums in this calendar year.

The Young analogies are partly due to the material – songs like the minor-chord based social chronicleMississippi, the 2-chord toggler Black Smoke, and the life anthem Wide Open Heart. They are also a testament to the skills of the 3 people who have played with DeCroo the past few years.

DeCroo’s sturdily-constructed melodies get wonderful bricks and mortar from Linda McRae (bass) and Ed Goodine (drums). Meanwhile, lead guitarist Jon Wood is a monster, filling the songs with rich licks and dandy, swirling, biting breaks to match the power of the lyrics. Be it the dark story of a man who got hooked on drink, killed a man, and ruined his life (Whiskey), a thinly veiled metaphor of George Bush as General Custer in a straight bluegrass mode (When I Was A Boy), or a heart on the sleeve confessional with a beat (Standing In The Doorway), the playing of the band is strong enough to give these remarkable bits of songcraft the type of backdrop they deserve.

War Torn Man is a tribute by DeCroo for his father, whose life was forever changed when he served in the VietNam War. The post traumatic stress disorder that resulted dominated the rest of his life. This reality is the direct spur behind album cuts like the album closing and concert ending title track War Torn Man and the aforementioned When I Was A Boy. It is also at the undercore of several other songs.

No album released in 2006 to date has excited me more than War Torn Man. I could very easily picture myself saying the same thing in December.


DeCroo's new album in memory of 'war torn' father
Golden Star Cariboo Press
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Page: 00B4
Section: Golden Star - Entertainment

Quintessential rambling man and singer-songwriter Rodney DeCroo is back on
the road again, heading into town this week to promote his new release, a
live album recorded at an Edmonton club last year.

"It was a complete fluke," admits DeCroo, who plays Packer's Place Tues.,
March 7 with side-band, the Killers. "I love playing the Sidetrack, and
one night their sound guy asked if we minded if they recorded the show.
And I didn't think much about it. I listened to it a bit and it sounded
pretty good."

But DeCroo had other things to worry about. He had been working on his
second studio album at the time, which all fell apart when he and the
producer couldn't come to terms and parted ways, leaving DeCroo with no
new CD, a contract indicating he was due for one, and, of course, a
handful of new songs with no home.

After returning from one of his many tours, DeCroo was summoned by his
record label rep who urged him to have a re-listen of the Sidetrack set.

"He said: 'You've got an album here," recalls DeCroo. "'So how do you
feel about releasing a live album as your second album - not many people
would.' And I said: 'That's exactly why I want to do it.'"

The album, War Torn Man, is dedicated to DeCroo's father - a Vietnam
veteran who returned home but was forever haunted by his war experience.
"It's also about a generation of people like me who came out of those
families," he says.

And though songs like When I Was a Boy and the CD's title track address
the ideas explicitly, DeCroo is reluctant to call his new release a
concept album, though he says "There's a thematic thread that runs through
it. The album gives voice to the fragmented psyches of people like my dad
who came out of the war."

But it's not just about sad reflection for DeCroo. In songs like Blue
Rooms, the Vancouver-based folkster allows himself to reach some sort of
resolution in dealing with his father's memory and the demons a young
Rodney inherited.

"It's an attempt to say, near the end of the album: 'I've seen all these
things and I can't turn away - the truth is, the world's a frightening
place. But I've found you can make peace somehow with it all. For a lot of
people, that comes through recognizing and accepting who you are and
telling stories. I think the kind of music I'm drawn to is a perfect
vehicle for that sort of thing."

And you'd do well to nip down to Packer's this Tuesday to join DeCroo for
the ride.

Americana ace Decroo plays Royal tonight
Nelson Daily News
Friday, March 3, 2006
Page: 12
Section: Arts
Byline: Contributed
Source: Special to Nelson Daily News

Rodney DeCroo's life is one of story books.

He is a treat to watch and listen to, as he shares his very soul with his
audiences in song and the story of his life is what makes this man the
performer he is.

He was born into a Southern Baptist family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
coal-mining country. From a very early age he was recruited to sing in the
family choir, The DeCroo Family Singers, and taken on the road.

Playing shows up to 320 days a year didn't leave much time for formal
schooling, instead, Rodney did his learning at the feet of some of the
greatest American roots musicians ever to take the stage. Sometime in his
late teens, with the choir on tour in Northern British Columbia,
supporting Bob Dylan, Rodney decided that it was time to settle down.

The DeCroo Family Singers, realizing he could not be swayed, bid him a
fond farewell. These were difficult days for young Rodney. Soon there was
a large family to look after, and his wife's dog breeding money could only
go so far. The answer was obvious, Rodney had to once again take to the
road as a musician.

Rodney formed a Molly Hatchet cover band, Take No Prisoners. The money
was good, the crowds were large and getting larger, and major music
industry movers and shakers were beginning to take interest.

Then along came a band of Killers, a band in search of a singer, and
musicians in search of a songwriter. Linda McRae, Jon Wood, and Marc
L'Esperance banded together with Rodney, and have since created a union of
immense talent.

Now, with many miles, and many shows under their belt, Rodney DeCroo and
The Killers have honed a show that will have you shootin' your six-guns in
the air, pausing only briefly to bang your head against the hood of your
pickup truck crying over that lost love from many, many years ago.

Tickets available at the door for $7.

© 2006 Nelson Daily News


Disc captures richness of DeCroo's music
Red Deer Express
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Page: 24
Section: City Pulse
Byline: Mark Weber
Source: Red Deer Express

There is something instantly compelling about the textured unrestrained
music of Rodney DeCroo.

Honesty and generous storytelling sensibilities spill out through the
folk/roots tracks of his latest disc War Torn Man, recorded live at
Edmonton's Sidetrack Cafe.

He plays The Vat March 16.

DeCroo hails from working man's country, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Born into a devout and hard working family, the DeCroos headed to Canada
when Rodney's father decided not to re-up for a second tour of Vietnam.

Musically, DeCroo has, over the years, garnered comparisons to Bob Dylan,
John Prine and Neil Young.

Dylan was certainly an early influence - his record Saved was the only
album DeCroo's mother bought him as a teen.

Being a strict southern Baptist, secular music wasn't permitted.

But DeCroo was struck by what he heard, and somehow knew music would be
his destiny.

"Even as a kid I would sing all the time and make all these little

Still, he didn't even pick up a guitar until he was 33, shortly after his
marriage ended.

Staying at a friend's place, he noticed a guitar sitting there.

"I thought well, I guess I better get on with this."

Songs flowed naturally and as did an ability to connect with audiences.

War Torn Man, dedicated to his father, captures DeCroo in his natural
element - on stage and on the road.

It was recorded last summer, and seemed the natural progression from his
last disc which was recorded 'live off the floor'.

Although it wasn't at first planned.

DeCroo said the results were exceptional and releasing it as a complete
disc seemed the perfect choice, even though another studio project was
nearing completion.

"I had also put all new songs on the set list that night, except for the
first song which I had wanted to re-record anyways," he explains.

His raw approach away from the studio suits the songs perfectly.

"If the heart of the song is there, that's the important thing."

Tunes run the gamut from the haunting, earthy drive of Bring It On to the
plaintive tones of Mississippi.

Sonically infectious, Rain Rain speaks of longings for new beginnings
while the engaging, reflective When I Was A Boy boots along at a
rollicking pace.

No matter a given cut's tone, DeCroos' music is loaded with images.

And fans are already soaking it up with gusto - DeCroo introduced the
disc recently in Vancouver to exuberant response.

"People really seem to respond to the songs and what they're touching on
as well."

The disc's energy is also fueled by a band any singer/songwriter would
kill to have for back-up including Linda McRae, best known for her time in
Spirit of the West.

McRae was critical in DeCroo surging ahead in his own career. She caught
one of his very first appearances and offered to play bass for him.

Besides bass, she plays banjo, accordion and also lends her dulcet vocal
harmonies to many of DeCroo's songs.

Impeccable guitarist Jon Wood and drummer Ed Goodine round out the
accomplished group.

For DeCroo, crafting tunes is his mission.

"It's what I've always wanted to do - I get the pleasure of seeing people
respond to my songs," he says.

"It's what I feel I was put here to do. I feel at my fullest when I'm
doing music - there's lots of stories left to tell."

For more about DeCroo's Red Deer show, call 346-5636.

© 2006 Great West Newspaper Group. All rights reserved.

* Colour Photo: Special to Red Deer Express / SONGS WITH HEART - Armed
with an incredibly-crafted new live disc, Vancouver-based Rodney DeCroo
plays The Vat March 16.

Idnumber: 200603080021
Edition: Final
Story Type: News
Length: 571 words
Illustration Type: Colour Photo


True Grit: Rodney Decroo dedicates CD to father, a Vietnam vet
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
Thursday, March 9, 2006
Page: C1 / FRONT
Section: Lifestyle
Byline: Cam Fuller
Source: The StarPhoenix

From pain comes art and from the hard life of his father comes Rodney
Decroo's new album War Torn Man.

"He got dreams that make hard men weep," Decroo sings in the quiet,
haunting title track. The album is dedicated to Decroo's father, an
American Vietnam war veteran who moved to Canada rather than do another
tour of duty.

"That impacted our family real hard," Decroo recalls.

Seeking solace, Decroo's father moved his family into the wilds of a
northern British Columbia hunting lodge accessible only by airplane or a
week on horseback. Home schooling, fetching water from a frozen lake and
winters on the trapline were part of Decroo's childhood.

"It was pretty hard on my mom," Decroo says.

When his parents split up, his mother married another Vietnam veteran.
War Torn Man, then, is both factual and a composite.

"I've been around a lot of those guys. They're not hard to find."

Growing up near the coal mining region of Pennsylvania as well as South
Carolina and B.C. was perfect grounding for the future songwriter.

"I kind of get where people are coming from," says Decroo.

His music is gritty and honest, with comparisons to Steve Earle, Neil
Young and Bob Dylan well earned.

Decroo says the new album came about as "kind of an accident, to be
honest with you."

He was working on a studio album but had a falling out with the producer.
Then, at a routine gig at the Sidetrack in Edmonton, the soundman asked
permission to record the show. Decroo, his band and his label were
impressed with the result and decided to make it the album.

A finished product of that calibre wouldn't have been possible without
Decroo's band. He feels lucky to have players like Linda McRae on bass,
Jon Wood on guitar and Ed Goodine on drums. McRae, who used to be in
Spirit of the West, also plays banjo and accordion and sings harmony.

"The band's fantastic. I don't want to play with anyone else," says

Numerous side projects keep Decroo busy.

He's working on a duets album that will include Sam Parton of the Be Good
Tanyas. He's also got an album coming out with Rae Spoon called Stones in
the Dirt. And, for the truly old-school, there's a vinyl version of War
Torn Man.

"I'm a huge fan of vinyl. I grew up listening to vinyl. You get vinyl in
your hand and you feel legit suddenly -- 'I really did make a record,' "
Decroo laughs.

After the current tour, Decroo plans to "probably just start another
one." With six tours last year alone, he doesn't mind keeping moving.

"You got to. I don't want to sit in Vancouver."

- - -

Rodney Decroo

Monday to Wednesday at Bud's

* Colour Photo: Submitted / Rodney Decroo appears at Bud's Monday to
Wednesday next week


The Calgary Sun
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Page: 39
Section: Entertainment

Alberta bound. And glad to be.

West Coast-based singer-songwriter Rodney DeCroo doesn't hide the fact
he's excited about his current jaunt out of his province and into our own.

"I've actually said to several people I feel like moving there," DeCroo
says from a stop in Golden, B.C. "It's tough in Vancouver doing what I

What DeCroo does is rustic roots music with as many knots and splinters
as smooth, cool surfaces.

And while he admits there is a great but small roots scene in his current
hometown -- led by acts such as Radiogram, Bottleneck, Great Aunt Ida and
Zubot & Dawson -- the support from audiences isn't as enthusiastic as it
is on the Prairies.

"They just don't come out like they do in Alberta and they just don't get
it like they do in Alberta.

"I don't know what that is. I mean, when I get there I feel like I can
breathe again," he says, comparing it to Pennsylvania, where he grew up.

"People in Alberta for some reason seem to appreciate songs that are
rooted in story and place.

"Maybe it's because they're more comfortable with who they are."

Fitting, then, DeCroo's recently released second album War Torn Man was
recorded off the sound board during a performance at Edmonton's Sidetrack

He actually had an acoustic studio album almost finished, but a falling
out with the producer left him with a release date and nothing to fill it

After listening to the live tape, which featured a set of all-new
material recorded with his three-piece band, he was encouraged by the raw,
warm vibe of the recording, and stricken with the understated absurdity of
releasing it as his new album.

"It's like, 'Who puts out a live record as their second record?' " he
says. "And it does capture the band and myself in the element I feel best
in, which is out on the road and live."

He continues in that comfort zone this evening with a show at the HiFi,
which also happens to be an event that highlights his growing relationship
with this region.

The gig will be a release party for the vinyl version of War Torn Man,
which is being put out by Calgary-based indie label Saved By Radio as the
first of their Saved By Vinyl series.

"I grew up listening to music on vinyl," DeCroo says. "So it was like all
of a sudden I felt legitimate."

© 2006 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.

* photo of RODNEY DECROO