Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.
Web Design & Digital Marketing

Dream Warriors - A fresh spin on rap

The setting was a public-housing unit in the Toronto suburb of Willowdale. But the two young men were basking in an unmistakably Caribbean atmosphere. The townhouse was filled with the pungent smell of a West Indian fish fry, and a video of a Jamaican reggae dance was playing on the TV. It seemed an unlikely base for two of the fastest-rising stars in rap music, a musical style more associated with U.S. ghettos than Canadian suburbs. But Caribbean-born King Lou (Louis Robinson) and Capital Q (Frank Allert) have made a name for themselves, as the Dream Warriors, by revolutionizing rap music. Said Q: “Everyone’s accustomed to rap with guys swearing and bragging about themselves and violence. W...
Continue reading
  141 Hits

Truths & Rights - The Great Lost Album

At the dawn of the 1980s reggae music was bubbling up in Canada, finding an audience among fans of punk and new wave. Toronto, in particular, was a reggae hotbed, thanks to the city’s large West Indian community and a healthy club and concert scene that thrived on diverse sounds. Reggae legend Bob Marley had already visited Toronto four times, while many other Jamaican stars came and performed concerts. Some, like Jackie Mittoo and Leroy Sibbles, even stayed and made Toronto their home.Several groups from Toronto’s Jamaican community, including Earth, Roots & Water and Ernie Smith & Roots Revival, staged regular shows at downtown venues like the Horseshoe Tavern and Hotel Isabella. A...
Continue reading
  623 Hits

Music Review: Eddy Grant - Going for Broke

With last year’s Caribbean crossover album Killer on the Rampage, Guyana-born Eddy Grant proved he could create a successful solo album by working alone in his Barbados studio. Grant wrote, arranged and produced every song on that album, including the gritty hit single “Electric Avenue,” and played all the instruments as well. But his follow-up album, Going for Broke, suggests that he is now suffering from artistic isolation. The circus-style reggae of “Only Heaven Knows” and the somnolent ballad “Blue Wave” reveal senseless content and inexcusably sloppy technique, while an irritating, indulgent guitar solo mars the vigorously rocking “Romancing the Stone,” which he wrote for the recent fil...
Continue reading
  536 Hits

Music Feature: Peter Tosh - The razor-sharp ring of truth

Reggae music, product of the shantytowns of Jamaica, has often echoed the turbulence of its Caribbean birthplace. When reggae star Peter Tosh, 42, was gunned down in his Kingston home on Sept. 11 during an attempted robbery, his murder added yet another violent chapter to the history of The Wailers, the celebrated band that Tosh and Bob Marley founded in 1963 with Bunny Livingstone. No Nuclear War (Capitol), a new collection of Tosh's protest songs, arrived in record stores just a few weeks before his death. Although none of the material matches the standard of "Get Up, Stand Up," the classic anthem Tosh coauthored with Marley, the album does serve as a fitting postscript to his provoca...
Continue reading
  1200 Hits

Music Feature: The hypnotic pull of the reggae beat

Bunny Wailer - Photo by David Corio
When Bob Marley died of cancer at 36 in 1981, he received a burial more befitting a king than a musician. His funeral drew the largest crowds in Caribbean history. The Jamaican parliament recessed for 10 days of national mourning, having just awarded him an Order of Merit. As millions mourned the passing of reggae music’s first major star, music industry insiders predicted that reggae— with its bass-heavy beat and its lyrical links to the island’s mystical Rastafarian religion— would soon fade away. But the forecast was wrong. Despite the death of its leading practitioner and reggae’s continuing struggle for airplay on North American radio stations, its appeal keeps spreading. This summer, r...
Continue reading
  629 Hits