Colin Linden

RemedySad and Beautiful World
New MatchboxColin Linden Live!
Vale Of TearsKings Of Love
Dark Night Of The SoulStill Live
Without The One You LoveBig Mouth
Smoke 'Em AllFrom The Water
Easin' Back To TennesseeEasin' Back To Tennessee
Sad and Beautiful WorldThrough The Storm, Through The Night
The Way Heaven FeelsSouth At Eight, North At Nine
Just Like I Treat YouA Tribute To Howlin' Wolf


Colin Linden playlist



Contributor: Jerry Tenenbaum

Colin Kendall Linden is a Canadian musician, songwriter and record producer. He is an accomplished guitarist. He is a solo artist and also a member of the group, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (B&RK) with Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson. He is a genuine renaissance man of roots music in all its forms. He has produced for Bruce Cockburn, Colin James, Tom Wilson and has been a sideman for Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. His songs have been covered by The Band, Keb’ Mo’, Blind Boys of Alabama and Colin James.

Born in Toronto, he moved to New York as a youth. He was exposed to many prominent performers, including John Mayall, Van Morrison, Johnny Winter and Taj Mahal. In the 1970s, his family moved back to Toronto and he became interested in blues performers including Howlin’ Wolf. In 1971, The 11-year-old Linden met with Howlin’ Wolf at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto (he sat upstairs where there was a restaurant licence where a youngster could sit and listen) when he played there. Soon after, Linden began to perform during the growing coffee house phenomenon in Toronto. Having learned how to finger pick, Linden met David Wilcox and learned slide guitar. In the 70s, he met many other blues artists and, in 1978, he joined David Wilcox band (the Teddy Bears) and Linden was charged with playing electric guitar. He began to play solo in 1977 and in the late 70s, he formed his own group, the Group du Jour and then The Lucky Charms. In 1980, he recorded Colin Linden Live! and also played as a sideman with many prominent performers. In 1986, he released his second album, Colin Linden and The Immortals.

In the early 1980s, Linden met Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm of The Band and they contributed to Linden’s recordings. He began to produce albums in 1987-88. (I saw him with the reformed Band at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto during that time. He played Remedy and was a perfect fit for the boys. It was one of the truly great shows I have ever seen).

Linden played guitar for Bruce Cockburn from 1991 to 1994 and then became Cockburn’s co-producer. He then released the blues album, South At Eight, North At Nine in 1993 and won the Canadian Juno Award in the Blues and Gospel category. Contributions came from Danko, Hudson and Helm as well as Bruce Cockburn.

Linden became interested in gospel music and, in 1996, won a producing Juno for an album by Lennie Gallant. He co-wrote the hit, Real Stuff, with Colin James. In 1996, with Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing, he formed B&RK and recorded a tribute to Willie P. Bennett (High Or Hurtin’ and then Kings Of Love). His work on A Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf received a Grammy nomination in 1999.

Linden continued to win Juno awards in the Blues and in the Roots and Traditional categories as producer and solo performer and as producer of yet another Cockburn album. Linden also won as a member of B&RK. He continued to produce for major artists. The acoustic recording, Big Mouth, won a Juno in 2002 for Best Blues Album. He won a Grammy for his work on the country album Timeless in 2002. He then produced for Stephen Fearing, and for Bruce Cockburn again, in 2002. Albums from B&RK continued in 2003 and 2006 and he continued to perform both as a solo performer and as a member of B&RK. There were also a number of other solo albums. (I have seen B&RK perform on a number of occasions – in Toronto and in Victoria – always superlative, with Colin consistently showing his stuff in excellent form).

In 2013, Colin Linden was invited to join Bob Dylan’s band, playing his first show in Toronto on July 15, 2013 (check out his comments on this gig here).


Currently, Colin Linden is on the road with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (B&RK).

I have chosen a number of songs from various aspects of Colin Linden’s multivariate career as a sampling of what he has done over 35 years. I had a very difficult time choosing – there is so much more. As they say: “It’s all good.”

Remedy is also the B-Side of Linden’s 1995 single, Out Of The Wilderness. Vale Of Tears is on the 1999 Blackie & The Rodeo Kings album, Kings Of Love. A Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf includes tracks by Taj Mahal, Ronnie Hawkins, Colin James, Lucinda Williams. All the other tracks in the toppermost ten are on Colin Linden solo albums.


Colin Linden official website

Colin Linden biography (Apple Music)

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (see Toppermost #183), Stephen Fearing (see Toppermost #176), Tom Wilson (see Toppermost #206). For the toppermost on Bruce Cockburn, see #209. Find them all in the Music Bank.

TopperPost #215

1 Comment

  1. Andrew Shields
    Mar 6, 2014

    Jerry – thanks for this great list – it is one that makes me want to hear more of Linden’s music…

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