Five months after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Cross Canadian Ragweed raised a few eyebrows when it performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Arlington Stadium on opening day for a packed house of Texas Rangers fans. Apparently a few freedom-lovers in attendance mistook the Oklahoma-bred roots rockers for maple-leafed hosers from the Great White North -- playing our national anthem, goddammit! But for frontman Cody Canada, rhythm guitarist Grady Cross, bassist Jeremy Plato and drummer Randy Ragsdale, the distinct honor of confusing rabid patriots in a bona fide "red dirt" state (mission accomplished!) certainly made the band's highlight reel. Ten years earlier, the four childhood pals from the Yukon were teaching themselves Merle Haggard ditties and classic '70s-rock bombast. Still louder than Nashville likes, CCR mates the chicken-fried guitar licks of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ted Nugent and the Allman Brothers with simple roadhouse meat and potatoes. Touring in support of its major-label debut, Soul Gravy, Ragweed specializes in tunes about Jesus, unanswered prayers, near-death experiences, cheatin' hearts and life on the road. Dudley Do-right couldn't ask for more, eh?
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