Blue Rodeo’s pedal steel guitarist, Bob Egan, played his final show with the band at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre on Saturday night. He is leaving to accept a new job, as Manager of Community Connections and Development at the Kitchener Library. Via Facebook on Friday, his bandmate Glenn Milchem shared Egan’s farewell letter to Blue Rodeo. His eloquent words are worth sharing, so here they are, in full.
Bob Egan here, writing an open letter to Canada on the cusp of my final show with Blue Rodeo.
These last 17 years have literally been a dream come true for me. From an awkward teen playing the Legion Halls of Central Illinois to a grown man playing on the stages of the world, this journey has exceeded my wildest dreams.
Seventeen years ago on my first day in Canada, as I walked down Queen Street in Toronto, I experienced a feeling I had never felt in my life. I felt like I belonged. I felt surrounded by people I could relate to. I felt at peace. And after 40 years of searching, I finally felt at home.
That day changed my life but it was only the beginning. Over the years, from coast to coast, you Canadians welcomed me into your towns and cities, your homes and your arms. You shared your stories, your celebrations and sorrows, but most of all you shared your love. This, my fellow Canadians, is the greatest reward of my life.
To serve in Blue Rodeo is to experience a level and intensity of camaraderie that is unimaginable. For almost two decades I’ve had the honour of sharing the stages, the dressing rooms, the studios and buses all over this world. In this strange bubble of an existence I experienced the truest and deepest friendships. The support and the love of my bandmates has led to the greatest joys of my life – music, my sobriety, my wife and my new son Leo. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Family has always been the the most valued cornerstone of my life and the embrace of the extended Blue Rodeo family has been a wellspring of unconditional true love.
The bonds we share amongst our children, our siblings, our parents, our spouses and our loved ones run deep in the Rodeo family and I’ll treasure them all my days.
From Blue Rodeo I learned some of life’s most precious lessons – work to bring joy into people’s lives, take a stand for greater good, try to make this world a better place and above all, share the love.
It is with these lessons I embark on the next journey of my life. My membership in Blue Rodeo has opened the doors for me to be of service to my adopted hometown of Kitchener, ON., and I am proud, honoured and humbled by this opportunity.
To you, the supporters and fans, I will be forever indebted for it is you who have truly made me feel at home.
To my bandmates, though our paths may part, the ties that bind us never will.
You will always be my family.
Read FYI’s retrospective look at Bob Egan’s career here