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.

Music Review: Eddy Grant - Going for Broke

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

Peter Tosh
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...
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Music Feature: The hypnotic pull of the reggae beat

Bunny Wailer 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...
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Music Review: Quique Escamilla - Encomienda

QuiQue1
Quique Escamilla’s music is a tantalizing blend of sweet and sour, light and dark. The talented Canadian troubador’s entrancing second album opens with the Manu Chao-like reggae vibe of the title track, a tart tale of historical corruption and exploitation in his Mexican homeland, and ends with the gorgeous “Tú Sólo Tú” (“You Only You”), a pedal-steel-drenched traditional ranchera about obsessive love, a song Tejano pop star Selena covered before her tragic death. As with his debut album, the Juno-winning 500 Years of Night , Escamilla doesn’t shy away from other hard-hitting subjects, including “Highway of Tears,” about British Columbia’s remote highway where so many Indigenous women and gi...
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Obituary: Big Sugar bassist Garry Lowe

GarryLowe-BigSugar
He was the gentle, dreadlocked musician who gave popular Canadian blues-reggae rockers Big Sugar its distinctive bass sound. But Garry Lowe, who passed away July 7, played a far greater role, bridging the reggae and Rastafarian culture of his native Jamaica with diverse audiences wherever he went, both with Big Sugar and as a prominent member of numerous other bands. And whenever a Jamaican star visited Toronto, Lowe was almost always there onstage, laying down his deep groove. “For a while, it seemed that Garry was the only reggae bass player in the world,” recalls Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson, commenting on Lowe’s ubiquitous presence was on the Toronto scene. “I’m sure when Garry join...
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