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Blackie & the Rodeo Kings make music in, and for, Nashville

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Blackie & the Rodeo Kings has been, since 1996, a kind of hip and underground Americana/country band. But it's hard to maintain that status when one of your members is a primary mover on a network TV show.

Colin Linden, who formed the Rodeo Kings with pals Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson in Hamilton, Ont., currently has a "day job" as the music supervisor on NBC's "Nashville," coaching the actors through their performance segments and playing most of the guitar parts you hear on the show -- and even slipping into a shot every now and then.

"It's kind of a fun thing to do, and they let me on a few times a season, so that`s been nice," says Linden, 53, who's also won some Juno Awards in Canada and his written hits for Colin James and others. He was part of Bob Dylan's touring band in 2013 and played on Diana Krall's "Glad Rag Doll" album the previous year.

"The best thing about ('Nashville') is that my main role on there is playing music, too, so it's not that far from the norm for me. Of course, this season wraps up in the middle of April and nobody knows yet whether it's going to come back for a third season -- or whether they'll want ME to come back for a third season. I love it, so if it does happen I'll be happy to keep doing it."

And, of course, Linden and his fellow Rodeo Kings are happy if his role with the TV show helps shed some extra spotlight on the band, which released its eighth album "South," earlier this year.

"One of our best shows in the last year and a half was at the Franklin Theater in Nashville, and almost the entire cast came out," recalls Linden, 53. "Charles Esten introduced us and Connie Britton, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, I think Hayden (Panettiere) and (creator) Callie Khouri came to the show. We just had a great time.

"There are a lot of Blackie fans on the 'Nashville' set, which is nice. Maybe one day they'll let us play on the show, too. That would really catch some people's attention."

Blackie & the Rodeo Kings perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $20. Call 734-761-1800 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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