The Stampeders open Maritime tour at Strathspey Place

The Stampeders are (from the left): lead guitarist Rich Dodson, drummer Kim Berly and Ronnie King on bass.

TORONTO, ON: The Stampeders will be starting their tour of the Maritimes with a concert at the Strathspey Place Performing Arts Centre in Mabou on April 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Lead guitarist Rich Dodson said the band has played the Strait area in recent years, including venues like the Granville Green Outdoor Concert Series, and the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, and is excited to kick-off their tour.

“We love touring the Maritimes,” Dodson said. “The fans are fantastic and it’s great to get back down there and rock with the Maritimers.”

Dodson says their concerts include a mix of mostly classics like – “Wild Eyes,” “Carry Me,” “Oh My Lady,” “Devil You,” “Monday Morning Choo Choo,” “Minstrel Gypsy,” “Hit the Road Jack,” and of course “Sweet City Woman” – sprinkled with newer material.

“A large part of our set is really doing the hits and the songs that we’re known for,” Dodson noted. “We have no issue with that, we like doing that.”

According to a press release from the band, no 1970s group represented Canada’s musical identity to the world like The Stampeders. From 1971 until 1976, The Stampeders were the country’s international musical ambassadors, touring more extensively in Canada and overseas than any other Canadian group during that time.

“We are a Canadian band, absolutely,” Dodson said. “We toured the States quite a lot, Europe and South America, but we always did one or two cross-Canada tours every year and I think that helped us build that solid fan base. Everybody’s got their Stampeder high school stories, when they’ve seen us. We’ve played everywhere and I think that accounts for our good fan base.”

In 1977, the trio – made up of Dodson, drummer Kim Berly and Ronnie King on bass – parted company but reunited at the Calgary Stampede 15 years later.

Dodson said he always thought the band would reunite but the stars aligned in 1992 after a guest appearance on The Dini Petty Show. Now they’re doing 30 concerts a year.

“The three of us ended up on this show, it was a great vibe, and a jam session led to a more serious get together, then we had calls from fairs and festivals,” Dodson recalled. “That was sort of the beginning of getting back together, doing a few dates. If it went five or six years, that would’ve been fine but it just keeps going and going.”

Since then they’ve been recognized by SOCAN for their Lifetime Achievement, been inducted into the SOCAN Songwriters Hall of Fame on five occasions and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame for their 1971 hit “Sweet City Woman.”

In the midst of rehearsals for the tour, Dodson added he and the band are looking forward to the tour because they still get a buzz from performing and meeting fans.

“Hopefully everybody can come out and bring all the old albums and pictures and stuff because we love the get-togethers after the gigs.”

For tickets, visit the Strathspey Place Performing Arts Centre box office or call: 902 945-5300.