When I chatted with Wayne Petti, frontman for Cuff the Duke, about their show in Regina tonight, the issue of record labels came up. It’s not surprising; over the band’s decade of existence, they’ve released five albums on as many labels, if you’re counting reissues. Here’s a quick rundown.
Life Stories for Minimum Wage (2002)
The band’s debut came out on this Guelph, Ontario label. At the time, they had an impressive line-up of bands. “It was great to be a part of something like that, to be associated with the Constantines and Royal City and Jim Guthrie, that entire roster,” says Wayne Petti. Three Gut closed up shop in 2005, their last release being the Constantines’ Tournament of Hearts. Life Stories later got rereleased by Outside Music, who were putting out Petti’s solo album, City Lights Align, at the time.
Cuff the Duke (2005)
Sidelines of the City (2007)
If there’s a single breakout record for the band, their self-titled disc with Hardwood was it. They took a big step-up production wise, the contrast all the greater by the rough version of “Anti-Social” from Life Stories that got polished for Cuff the Duke. They also upped their hook factor especially on a song like “The Ballad of Poor John Henry”. Cuff the Duke and its follow-up, Sidelines of the City, were both released on Canadian folk artist Hayden’s label, Harwood Records, which in addition to Hayden’s own albums put out music by Basia Bulat.
Way Down Here (2009)
Eventually, the band had to leave Hardwood Records. “Hayden had a lot of things going on in his life, and he decided he wouldn’t continue with Hardwood Records, as far as putting out other people’s records,” Petti told Exclaim! For their next album, Way Down Here, they decided to form their own label. With support from Universal Music they launched Noble Recording Co., which put out the first album they produced with Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor.
Morning Comes (2011)
Cuff the Duke are now proud members of the Paper Bag Records family, and not just because running a label themselves was tough. “I felt that that was something we were all really excited about being a part of again, to be associated with the Rural Alberta Advantage and Elliott BROOD, who signed around the same time we did, and Born Ruffians,” says Petti.
Cuff the Duke are playing with Hooded Fang tonight, October 22 at the Exchange.