Blue Northern

Blue Northern Promo
Blue Northern

Blue Northern was a country-rock band formed in Vancouver in 1977 around four members: Lee Roy Stephens, Garry Comeau, Jimmy Wilson, and Brady Gustafson. Next Ray O'Toole joined in 1978. Billy became a fan and started sitting in with the group. Eventually he became a full-fledged member.

Blue Northern recorded and released on Quintessence Records a four song EP on 12" blue vinyl in 1979, along with a blue-tinted cover. Both Ray O'Toole and Billy wrote two songs each for this EP. Ray's "Can't Make No Sense" was chosen as the single and Polydor Records signed the band. They recorded a second single. This time it was Ray O’Toole’s "Too Late To Turn Back." The group toured, and played concerts in halls like the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver and other similar halls across Canada. Blue Northern also did some TV shows. In early 1981, a full album was released on Polydor and a couple of more O’Toole written singles followed.

The band disbanded in 1982 and Billy went on to form The Billy Cowsill Band and later The Blue Shadows.

Peter North (journalist for the Edmonton Journal) said : “He (Billy) was an incredible gift to Western Canadian music scene and you listen to those early Blue Northern tracks and he produced all that stuff and mixed all that stuff and he came up here with a resume that was pretty much unlike anyone else’s at that time. I still – when I listened to those records the other night after Billy passing – and to hear those Beach Boys harmonies and The Beatle like melodies all mixed together into what was country-rock was just such an incredible recipe for success and for something that was going to resonate with a lot of people and that’s why that band had a few hits and everyone likes hits, especially when they are good ones.”

One story I found regarding Blue Northern is this. “Billy and Blue Northern were playing the Cave - and Tanya Tucker was sitting down front at the 'media table' and Gord Robson and a few other of the usual suspects, and I were enjoying the music - and the largesse of Stan Grozina - and the Dom Perignon. Billy and the band had Tanya come up - and she was amazing and was ALSO very complimentary to Billy and the lads. "I wanna take these guys on the road with me - she squealed..." ” – segueking February 2006

Update 11/1/18: According to a Nanaimo, British Columbia newspaper article dated July 14, 1982, the band had some personnel changes and was then going by the name "New Northern". Ray O'Toole had left the group. Barry Cowsill and Lindsay Mitchell had joined.

Billy's recordings made with Blue Northern:

EP - Can't Make No Sense / Chain Ya Down / Missin' You / Too Late To Turn Back (1979 Billy wrote Chain Ya' Down)
45 - Too Late To Turn Back / Half As Much (1980)
45 - You're Not The Same Girl / You Got Me Where You Want Me (1980)
45 - 100% / Vagabond (1981)
45 - Can't Stop / Be My Girl (1981)
LP - BLUE NORTHERN (1981 Billy worked as producer and Billy wrote Vagabond and Blue You)

Blue Northern EP
Blue Northern
"Too Late
To Turn Back"

Blue Northern Band Members:

Garry Comeau (vocals, lead guitar)
Billy Cowsill (vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, and portotune)
Jimmy Wilson (pedal steel, rhythm guitar, synthesizer accordian, dobro)
Lee Roy Stephens (bass, vocals)
Brady Gustafson (drums)
Ray O'Toole (vocals, guitar)
Lindsay Mitchell (vocals, guitar)
Barry Cowsill (vocals, guitar)
Paul Burton

I Can't Make No Sense

Here are the chords to Blue Northern's "I Can't Make No Sense"

[A] You say we should end if the feelings [D] gone
[E] there just ain?t no reason to carry [A] on
you say we should try in a day or [D] two
and [E] I can?t make no sense outta lovin? [A] you

[A] Wedding bells were ringing in my [D] head
[E] I could not hear what people might have [A] said
you see we have different points of [D] view
and [E] I can?t make no sense outta lovin? [A] you *[A][G#][F#]

[E] You say you must leave me now
you?re [B7] closin? all the doors
does he mean that much to you
you [E] can?t see me no more *[E][F#][G#][A]
and it?s [A] crazy, crazy, crazy what I?ll [D] do
and [E] I can?t make no sense outta lovin? [A] you

Instrumental Break [A][D][E] [A][D][E] [A] *[A][G#][F#][E]

[E] You say you must break my heart
and [B7] I will understand
the hurt will go away so soon
like [E] castles in the sand *[E][F#][G#][A]
and it?s [A] crazy, crazy, crazy what I?ll [D] do
and [E] I can?t make no sense outta lovin? [A] you (No No..I said)
[E] I can?t make no sense outta lovin? you (I...I)
[E] Yeah, I can?t make no sense (Stop) outta lovin? [A] you

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