top of page

The Canadian Legacy

The word "legacy" is steeped in time and tradition. It implies something meaningful, passed down the generations in an attempt to preserve something worth keeping. It's typically revered by onlookers but cared for by a select few who willingly pick up the torch and carry it to its next destination. We see it in corporate empires, sports, and of course, in music. One generation churns into the next, each adding their mark to what was before. In the "Texas Music Scene," you can go back as far as you like - Bob Wills, Lightning Hopkins, Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson...take your pick. But no matter where you start, you can trace a line to where we are now. Robert Earl Keen to Pat Green to Wade and Randy to Flatland or Koe, the path winds its way, with each artist adding their own accents to a heritage that perpetually grows.

Embedded within the legacy that is Texas and Red Dirt music, the Canada family has managed to start their own legacy of sorts. We all know the story of Cody Canada, who in the mid-90's, traded in Garth Brooks aspirations and cowboy boots to bring a rock 'n roll edge to a burgeoning Red Dirt music scene.

Cross Canadian Ragweed blew the doors off Yukon, Oklahoma, before setting venues ablaze nationwide for over a decade. During the Ragweed heyday, Cody's wife, Shannon, latched on to the business side of music, eventually forming her own management company and becoming a force in her own right.

Amongst in the chaos in the mid-to-late 2000's that ultimately led to the breakup of Ragweed in 2010, the Canadas had two boys, Dierks Cobain (as in Dierks Bentley and Kurt Cobain) and Willy Vedder (as in Willy Braun and Eddie Vedder).

Growing up surrounded by the echoes of their father's melodies, Dierks and Willy developed a profound love for music from an early age. Immersed in the world of Americana, they absorbed the diverse influences that shaped their father's sound.

Eventually, Dierks picked up the guitar and his younger brother took on the drums. I remember attending the first Mile 0 Fest in 2018, Cody and Dierks on stage together for the first time. Despite still learning his chord changes, Dierks seemed unphased sitting on a spotlit stage in the Key West Theater, strumming Bob Segar's, "Turn the Page." Later that week, both he and Willy joined their dad on stage at the main amphitheater. At the point we all knew this was going to be a thing going forward.

Upon their return from Key West, Shannon opened up a School of Rock franchise in New Braunfels that served as a nest for the boys to hone their music skills. The Canadas pulled from the local talent to fill in as instructors at their new school and pretty soon, Willy and Dierks had assembled their own band alongside some fellow students. We've covered the initial incarnation of their band, Waves, when they released their EP in 2022. Since then, the members of the band have largely stayed the same with their sound getting a bit heavier, crossing over from punk to metalcore. It's punk on steroids, with big guitar breakdowns and the occasional cookie monster growling vocals. They've also rebranded from "Waves" to "Waves In April" in order to differentiate from other bands with the same name.

We've already seen their band play most of the historic venues in our scene - John T. Floores, Gruene Hall, Cain’s Ballroom, and most recently, Billy Bob's Texas.

But it hasn't been all roses. There's been grumbling and guff thrown at the Canadas for seemingly teeing up these kids for an audience that didn't ask for them. So much so, it's not uncommon for Cody to come out and tell people to "be fucking nice." before the show starts. I get it if you look at it through an entitlement lens, but it's a very jaded way to look at things. Legacies continue because knowledge, values, habits and wisdom gleaned from old guard get passed to the next generation. As parents, our job is to equip our kids to eventually swim on our their own, and if we can help it, we don't just throw them in the pool and tell them "Good luck!" Instead, we get in the pool with them and show them the ropes. With the Canadas, we are witnessing this happen in real-time.

Much like Austin Meade did before them, our scene is the launching point for "Waves In April." If they succeed, they'll likely not be here for long. That's not a "welcome to the minor leagues" kind of statement, that's a "taking what you inherited and finding your own path" statement. For the Canada boys, success might look more like Rocklahoma rather than Billy Bob's. Although it's way too early to make any predictions, with Dierks being 18 and Willy just 15, it's clear watching these kids play that music is in their DNA. They're writing their own songs and music, folding in the influences that come from growing up in a musical family. I wouldn't bet against them, seeing that they have parents that have been there, a massive extended musical family to learn from, and from what I can tell, the grounding they need for any found success to not ruin a good thing.

Legacies have always been a part of music, and this musical baton exchange from parents to kids is the first we've seen in our scene in the post-Pat Green era. It won't be the last either, the Canadas' journey is likely a primer for what is to come - watch it, crank it, embrace it.


bottom of page