Born in Toronto in 1955, Jim Cuddy began his musical career early in life, playing in bands while still attending high school at North Toronto Collegiate Institute, where he met future Blue Rodeo co-founder Greg Keelor.
They played together off and on while Cuddy attended Upper Canada College, then got serious with the band. They recorded seven albums, all which reached gold or better status, and enjoyed a string of top 10 singles prior to releasing his debut album in September, 1998.
With Blue Rodeo taking a well-deserved break from recording and touring, he released ALL IN TIME, following the same recipe that brought him the gold so many times before - country tinged rock perfectly tailored for the burgeoning 'new country' radio format. Peaking at #38 on the Canadian charts, the album was certified gold on the backs of four singles, though none of them cracked the top 40 - "Disappointment," "Too Many Hands," "Trouble," or the title track.
Following some solo concert dates that stretched out into the spring of 1999, Cuddy returned to the Blue Rodeo fold, until releasing his sophomore solo album in 2006. THE LIGHT THAT GUIDES YOU HOME featured three singles which got airplay. "Pull Me Through" became the first single, and its accompanying video initially got decent rotation on the video channels. "Maybe Sometime" and the duet with up and comer Kathleen Edwards in "Married Again" (based loosely on a news story he'd read about a couple that get married in Vegas, then divorced, and re-married after a drunken stuper) followed onto the singles chart, but none of the three cracked the top 40. Still, the production value on the album, compliments of Cuddy and friend and co-producer Colin Cripps, pushed the album to 50,000 in sales, giving Cuddy his second straight gold solo album while it peaked at #18.
With the band back on the road and in the studios again, his next solo project wouldn't be until the fall of 2011, released shortly before his critically-scathed performance of the national anthem with Chantal Kreviazuk at the home opener that welcomed the Winnipeg Jets back into the NHL. Like its predecessors, SKYSCRAPER SOUL played host to a number of studio musicians under the guise of The Jim Cuddy Band, including Blue Rodeo's bassist Bazil Donovan, their former keyboardist James Gray, Sarah Harmer, and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. The album continued the Jim Cuddy trademark sound - running parallel to Blue Rodeo's - slick enough with enough cross-over appeal to get airplay under several radio formats.
The simplicity of the melancholy "Everyone Watched The Wedding" (inspired very loosely on the British Royal wedding) became the first single, and showed an artist who'd grown. The song's subtle orchestration made way for the next single, "Regular Days." Critics praised the album for its texture and honesty, combining inspirations of city life with relateable lyrics and smooth melodies in other noteable tracks like "What Is So Wrong," the title track, and the instrumental "City Birds" - a song Cuddy had actually written for fellow Blue Rodeo member Greg Keelor, which he ultimately rejected.
Over his 30+ years career, Cuddy has been involved in several social and philanthropic ventures. Beginning in the early '00s, he became a regular judge and commentator on CBC Radio's annual "Canada Reads" competition. He's also married to actress Rena Polley ("Dead Ringers" and guest on TV shows "The Murdoch Mysteries," "The Listener," "Due South," and "Street Legal," among others). His brother Loftus Cuddy also ran for the Toronto-Danforth seat as a Conservative in the 2004 federal election.