*WHAT Magazine* Volume 11, Issue 2 March/April 1997
Getting Personal with Greg Keelor - by Cathy Clark Wawrykow

For a variety of reasons, Gone is the kind of record few musicians get to create. Its hypnotic songs - flavoured with Anne Bourne's resonant cello and the creative fusion of Sarah McLachlan and percussionist Ashwin Sood - create an intensely personal mood. But it's inward-looking personal, not even remotely soul-baring. And, most telling, there is not one radio-friendly track, an indication of how well-loved Greg Keelor is by the sales-driven record executives.

So, why does Gone even exist? Keelor's writing with Blue Rodeo has always seemed more of a journey than a destination, and Gone has such a final sound. Keelor says he has always wanted to make a "slow" record, but it's not something he could have done with the band.

"It's a distillation of a period," he describes. "Everything that's happened over the last couple of years has been very, very intense, but somewhere along the way over the last two years I also learned that all the s**t I go through is just the body cleaning itself out."

This has included learning to live with his newly developed adult diabetes; falling off a ladder and breaking several ribs; and finding out he was adopted. And you thought your life was rough. Keelor's emergence from these trials took many forms: a trip to India; a meeting with his birth mother; and dropping the recreational drugs that had been a part of his life. You wouldn't say "clean and sober" because Keelor is one of those rare individuals for whom simple existence is enough of a high. Maybe "painfully honest and aware" is more like it.

"I feel like I'm on a psychiatrist's couch," he comments, resettling onto one of the green-room sofas at Winnipeg's West End Cultural Centre. Throughout the entire conversation he is sublimely serene and introspective, speaking in low, thoughtful tones. I'm feeling more than a little mesmerized myself, asking how it was different for Keelor to work without the Blue brothers backing him up.

"It was just me knocking on the door of the muse, rather than six guys. And I've learned that, in the creative process, the more I keep myself out of the way and just let the song flow, the better it is. The true it is," he smiles. "I also didn't have anyone else to blame."