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Xavier Rudd returns to Whistler

Mountain West Music Fest heralds a homecoming for Australian folk musician

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While the lyrical content of his music is never contrived, it often carries a strong message. On top of musical cred, Rudd has earned a reputation as something of an activist, advocating for environmental responsibility and the rights of Australian and Canadian aboriginal people.

"I'm pretty sure I have aboriginality on my father's side - my grandmother was aboriginal, and I think her spirit is possibly with me - I've always been connected to my aboriginal roots," he said.

Guided by these spirits on his musical journey, Rudd has developed a large following of fans and his music has met with great success. Since releasing his first album, To Let , in Australia, and making his U.S. debut with Solace two years later, Rudd has toured throughout Europe, Australia and North American supporting his acoustic folk rock brethren (think the Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper). Aside from this hectic touring lifestyle, he's also worked on the film score for Matthew McConaughey's film Surfer Dude , co-starring Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson.

Late last week, Rudd was in Colorado, hanging out at a park with his kids before heading off to another show on the Dark Shades of Blue tour, which has lasted almost three months.

"For me, the Dark Shades of Blue tour has started to become into the past a bit," Rudd said after a pause.

Married to a Canadian, our home and native land holds a bit of a special place in this musician's heart, and he has some particularly fond memories of Whistler. Before making it big, Rudd used to play intimate gigs at the Crystal Lodge.

"Some of my first shows in Canada were around Whistler," Rudd recalled. "...It was all low-key and mellow. It was super cool - I miss those days."

This tour is in support of his latest album, Dark Shades of Blue , which was released in 2008, featuring a few calm, heavy, and somewhat dark tracks balancing out his typical upbeat, laidback style.

"It's just what came through," he said. "My music has always been different, ever since I was a kid. The styles always vary."

Dark Shades was actually the first album Rudd had recorded at home, in Australia, in years, which may explain the sharp contrast in tone and feel to his previous album, White Moth .

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