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.
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Music Review: SuperHeavy - SuperHeavy

From Cream to the Travelling Wilburys, supergroups are nothing new. But SuperHeavy, Mick Jagger’s side project with Joss Stone and Dave Stewart, of Eurythmics fame, is worlds away from Crosby, Stills Nash & Young. Rounded out by Bob Marley’s son Damian and Bollywood’s A.R. Rahman, the group sounds like a hip United Nations soundtrack. Clearly, they’re having fun: the video for reggae track “Miracle Worker” features Jagger as a neon-pink-suited witch doctor promising “love and laser” cures.
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Feature Article: Snow - Snow business

As a teenager growing up in the housing projects of north Toronto, Darrin O’Brien did not seem to have much of a future. An indifferent student from a working-class family, he spent much of his time drinking, fighting and getting caught on the wrong side of the law. His police record includes several convictions—for mischief, causing a disturbance and assault. Aside from his skill as a street fighter, O’Brien's only talent was mimicking the thick Jamaican dialect that he heard on reggae records and in his predominantly West Indian neighborhood. Then, in 1989, when he was 19, a brawl involving butcher knives sent him to jail on charges of attempted murder. But prison proved to be a turning po...
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Music Review: The Sattalites - Reggaefication

Canada’s reggae veterans have “reggae-fied” everything from the Beatles’ “She Loves You” to Cat Stevens’ “The First Cut is the Deepest.” Here, they add the one-drop rhythm to the Rascals’ “Groovin’.” But catchy covers are only part of the Sattalites’ oeuvre. Led by Jo Jo Bennett and Fergus Hambleton, the band—now happily celebrating its 20th anniversary—also delivers polished originals like Hambleton’s “The Key” and Bruce “Preacher” Robinson’s spirited dancehall rap “God Bless.” Joyful, unpretentious stuff.
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Liner Notes: Adrian Miller – Rude Boy on the Bus

For some people, ska music died with the passing of Britain’s two-tone movement in the 1980s. But they only knew it as a post-punk dance craze anyway. As Jamaica’s peppy precursor to reggae, pioneered by legends like Jackie Mittoo, Don Drummond and Prince Buster, ska has a long and vibrant history whose influence still reverberates today.

In England, the ska banner was first held high by Desmond Dekker, a Jamaican singer whose songs “007 (Shanty Town)” and the classic “The Israelites” sent syncopated shock waves across radioland in the 1970s. By the end of the decade, ska was bubbling up big time in Old Blighty, with two-toners The Specials and The English Beat opening for the likes of Elvis Costello and The Clash.

Into those heady days stepped Adrian Miller, Mr. Rude Boy himself, a young Jamaican who found England’s music scene totally inspiring. “The whole climate was more experimental than what was going on back home,” recalls Miller. “There were older musicians like Saxa and Rico, who had first started doing ska back in Jamaica, playing with young groups like The Beat and The Specials. It was an amazing time.”

 

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Feature Article: Sinéad O’Connor's spiritual rebirth

It’s been easy to dismiss Sinéad O’Connor as a kook, a volatile artist who seemed hell bent on career self-destruction by refusing to have the American national anthem played before her U.S. concerts and ripping up Pope John Paul II’s photo on Saturday Night Live. The backlash was swift and severe. The outspoken Irish-born singer suffered a nervous breakdown, attempted suicide and announced her retirement from the music business—several times. Last year, O’Connor took out a full-page ad in the Irish Examiner newspaper, pleading with her critics to be left alone. “I have been the whipping post of Ireland’s media for 20 years,” she wrote in the 2,000-word open letter. “If ye all think I am suc...
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