Seth James to Leave The Departed
“After three years of great times and great music, I have decided to take a step down as a band member of the Departed,” James told his fans. “It has been an unbelievable ride and I am so grateful for the support and love along the way. My last show will be November 23 at Gruene Hall. I look forward to supporting these guys alongside you as they continue down the road.”
Seth James was a noted performer before he joined The Departed, releasing a solo album in September of 2009 called That Kind Of Man. The Departed was originally known as Cody Canada and the Departed and was formed after the breakup of Cross Canadian Ragweed in September of 2010. Cody Canada formed the new band with Seth, Jeremy Plato, keyboard player Steve Littleton, and Drummer Dave Bowen, who would later be replaced by Chris Doege.
Cody Canada and the Departed put out This Is Indian Land in June of 2011—an album of all covers from Oklahoma songwriters. On November 13th, 2012, The Departed released their first album of original material called Adventüs that included numerous songs written and primarily sung by Seth James. The album marked a departure from the bands country influences for a more rock sound. Both Departed albums charted in the top 20 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart, and the band is considered one of the premier acts in the Texas/Red Dirt scene.
“Please know that the love and admiration that we all have for one other continues,” The Departed posted on their Facebook page in respond to Seth’s announcement. “As for the Departed…we will continue on with ‘Some Old, Some New and Maybe A Cover Or Two’. No one will be standing in Seth’s place, but The Departed will be coming to your town soon as a full force, rocking 4 piece. Old songs, current songs and new songs will be in the set each night.”
“No one will be standing in Seth’s place,” says Cody Canada. “There is no need to try to replace one of the best guitar players ever.” Canada also says that after Seth’s departure, the band will include more songs from Cross Canadian Ragweed. Canada is set to release an acoustic album called Some Old, Some New, Maybe A Cover Or Two recorded at Third Coast Music in Port Aransas, TX in late November.
September 9, 2013 @ 6:38 am
So he’s departing the departed?
September 9, 2013 @ 7:11 am
Sad news. Just saw these guys play a few weeks ago with Chris Knight and like always, they were great. And Seth made a classy effort by walking around after the show thanking people for their support. But as the concert was going on I kind of looked around and thought man, this a small crowd. I don’t know if it has anything to do with him leaving but you’ve got to wonder about financial sustainability with some of these bands playing smaller venues and maybe not getting enough people in the doors. Maybe he just wants to get back to his solo career, I don’t know, but I enjoyed watching him play in this band. He’s a very talented guy to say the least. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this band though. They’re a hell of a band and one of my favorites. I know it’s not going to be like starting over from scratch but it has to be frustrating for these guys.
TX Music Jim
September 9, 2013 @ 8:12 am
The Deaprted are a great rock band Seth is a huge part of that. However, the band never became as successful as Ragweed had been. I suspect that is part of Seth’s decison. Cody has been doing some accoustic solo shows lately to even recently recording a solo accoustic live record at Third Coast Studio in Port Aransas, Texas.. I suspect for financial reasons.Prediction, Cody Canada becaomes a solo act. Seth of course will do that as well. The other possibility is a Ragweed reunion. Ragweed was for a long stretch of time the biggest drawing act in Texas/Red Dirt music and could become so again. In fact I hope a Ragweed reunion happens as do most followers of the Texas/Red Dirt scene.
September 9, 2013 @ 8:54 am
Cody has frequently said that Ragweed as a band is dead, put to rest at Joe’s in Chicago. I can’t see a reunion happening already, and it sounded like their were some hard feelings between Grady Cross and Cody at the end of Ragweed’s run. It sounds like they are going to keep plugging away as the Departed for now. And hasn’t Cody always done small acoustic tours in the past while the band takes a break?
September 9, 2013 @ 9:14 am
I gave The Departed’s “Adventus” a positive review, but this was my big negative comment on it:
My biggest concern is not what to call this music, but that by going in this direction, Cody Canada, Seth James, and The Departed are making themselves a small fish in a big sea. With the more conventional Red Dirt sound, they enjoyed immeasurable grass roots support. Much of that support may still be there, but there is a reason people say rock is dead. Many elements of rock will forever be timeless. Others have become outmoded, including some found on Adventus that just come across as cliche to the 2012 ear. This is the reason for the rise of “indie” rock and roots rock these days, to evolve rock away from sounds that have become tired and overplayed over the years.
When I listened to that album, as much as I enjoyed the music and felt it was bold, I was worried it was going to stimulate the dwindling crowds that people have been seeing, etc. because it fell on the wrong place in the relevancy arch. When I saw The Departed at the Lone Star Music Awards in the spring, I looked around the audience, and felt the same thing. People were not engaged with the music, and people moved to the back of the crowd to freshen their drinks and go to the bathroom. Nobody had an ill word to say because The Departed is loved, but the music was not connecting with people. These are all just theories and anecdotal observations and we have no idea if they led to Seth’s departure, but it certainly could be a factor.
I saw a similar reaction with Shooter Jennings when he went in a more rock direction. Both The Departed and Shooter toured together in early 2012, and when you start to see these double pairings of conventionally what are thought to be headliners, it speaks to the weakening of draw and guarantee numbers an act is dealing with. Right now The Departed is on tour with Jason Boland, and Shooter is going on a tour with Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band—both acts that years ago would have been considered openers for these acts, not co-headliners. People can blame the dwindling support for live music in general, but there are many other acts significantly on the rise at the moment, like Jason Boland, Reverend Peyton, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson.
Roots music is really hot at the moment and is receiving renewed support, and when you abandon that for a rock sound, it seems to not bode well. Years from now it may be vice versa, but I feel like The Departed rolled the dice, and it didn’t necessarily work out for them. They’re still beloved and can turn it around though. It may take Seth leaving for both acts to grow.
TX Music Jim
September 9, 2013 @ 9:51 am
Time will tell but you are right Rock is dead from a comercial viability standpoint and so I think that while Cody has always done some accoustic stuff on the side recording a solo accoutic project may be a step towards seeing if a solo career may be more viable than the departed seem to be right now. Seth to me has always been more of a blues leaning guy who can sing and play and is very unique and should very viable as a solo act. A ragweed reunion is most likely a long shot. However, never say never. It would be huge and I’m sure a financial pleasure for everyone involved. The fans conceted with ragweed on an emotional level and never really forgave the band for the break up and most former ragweed fans i’ve talked to say they hate the Departed. Not fair just a gut reaction. The Departed is a dang fine rock band.
September 9, 2013 @ 8:52 am
I think Seth will do just fine if he continues going solo. His solo album that came out before he joined the Departed was really good and was getting alot of public attention. So I’m excited to see what comes of it. Honestly I could see the same with Cody. Although I do hope Ragweed gets back together.
September 9, 2013 @ 11:11 am
Cody Canada has said in several different interviews that he is not a solo guy. He doesn’t like his name out front. He didn’t want The Departed to be “Cody Canada and the Departed” when they first started. Everyone talked him into it. That’s why after a year they dropped it. I assume The Departed will roll on for a couple more years. It will be interesting to see what Chris Doege does. He was Seth’s drummer for awhile, so will he be the next one to leave?
For the time being, The Departed will continue to be awesome. As far as the song goes, it’s very simple. Pull Steve Littleton to the front of the stage where Seth used to be and turn him up. He has so much talent that I don’t think has been fully seen because the talent Seth had. Steve will fill most of the sound that Seth brought.
Also don’t forget, we’ve seen a few instances of Cody Canada playing in a trio or without Seth in the Departed. He has the chops to handle most of the guitar himself and still get the message across. And we can look forward to more Cody Canada guitar solos, which I’m a huge fan of.
To sum up…. I think it’s going to kick ass.
September 9, 2013 @ 11:42 am
Cody Canada could be a superstar if he wanted. The dude looks like a superstar. But at every point he’s shown a grounded humility and selflessness that is surprising and refreshing. Taking the name back to “The Departed” and sharing the spotlight with Seth James showed a lot of character.
September 9, 2013 @ 12:20 pm
Agree with both of you. We’re talking about a guy that probably could’ve “sold out” over and over again but doesn’t because what he does is make the music that he wants to make, fuck everything else. I loved Seth James’ role and watching the two them on stage together, loved both of their albums, but I’m looking forward to seeing what direction this goes from here.
TX Music Jim
September 9, 2013 @ 1:14 pm
Cody is a stand up guy. I wish him well in whatever he does. If the Departed can roll on and hit a stride and be more succesful, great. Seth and Cody together from a sonic standpoint was amazing that aspect of the sound will be missed.
September 10, 2013 @ 10:45 am
I always thought Seth’s voice was a little over the top. He’s clearly talented, but some of his songs just sounded a bit too close to butt rock for my taste. I wasn’t big on Adventus, I kinda hope Cody goes back towards a more Ragweed song. He’s got a badass country/rock voice. Just plain rock? Meh.
TX Music Jim
September 10, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
Rob, I think your sentiments about Cody going back to more of a Ragweed country rock sound is a widely held wish among Texas/Red Dirt music fans. I think Seth is amazing as a player and as a singer and will do well. But people want a more Ragweed style sound from Cody. Don’t know if they will get it. Cody is his own man and will do what he he wants musically but if he choose to go in a more country rock direction on the next project there is a bunch of old Ragweed diehards that would be on board
Red Dirt Rock
September 11, 2013 @ 7:07 pm
Ragweed will always be the best of red dirt rock. It’s what everyone else that’s hot now was listening to when they figured out how great the sound is. Ragweed did to red dirt what Nirvana did to rock — they took it to another level and by the Grace of God they sounded awesome. The Departed was an awesome project that wouldn’t have been the same without Seth. The Departed will not be the same when he’s gone. Just like The Departed was another chapter in Cody’s growth from Ragweed, Seth will make another huge step forward and be great on his own. I just hope Cody continues to pay tribute to what made him great — Ragweed! And if Ragweed reunites for even one show anywhere in the world, I will be there. Wouldn’t that be something!
September 29, 2013 @ 9:52 am
I stumbled upon The Departed after my streaming radio played “Pay”, really liked the sound and I did some googling and found the band playing Charlotte last night. I was pretty blown away, didn’t even go back to the bar the whole show. But yes, the crowd was small and I felt like I was getting a real treat seeing such talent in a small place with few people. I remember thinking last night that people just don’t know about the band, and they damn well should!