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: Quique Escamilla - Encomienda

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 gir...
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Obituary: Big Sugar bassist Garry Lowe

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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Music Review: Sting & Shaggy - 44/876

It’s an unlikely pairing—one is a member of English rock royalty, the other a Jamaican superstar—but it works. “We both have ridiculous names,” jokes Sting, born Gordon Sumner, while Shaggy, born Orville Burrell, cites the two musicians’ shared love of reggae music as the bond. The pair’s island-inspired album, named after the British and Jamaican dialling codes, is a sunny delight. It opens with the title track, a dancehall number featuring Shaggy, best known for hits like “Oh Carolina” and “Boombastic,” toasting about rice and peas and Sting singing about Bob Marley. There are moments of genuine fun, on the infectious “Don’t Make Me Wait,” and of pure drama, on the courtroom-themed “Crooke...
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Music Review: Hollie Cook - Vessel of Love

  Cook is one of best current proponents of lover’s rock, the romantic reggae offshoot. On her third album, the English singer injects plenty of dreamy tropical vibes into feel-good numbers like “Stay Alive,” a perfect showcase for her breezy voice, and the horn-driven “Angel Fire,” which conjures up visions of sensuous nights on a moonlit beach.
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Liner Notes: Sattalites - The Best of Canadian Reggae

Rare is the band that survives the challenges of constant touring, recording and inevitable membership changes. Rarer still is the group that keeps improving, consistently honing its craft and polishing its sound. The Sattalites have achieved that remarkable feat over the course of 30 years, establishing themselves along the way as one of the world's premier reggae acts. Built on the foundational talents of Jo Jo Bennett and Fergus Hambleton, the Sattalites have forged a fresh, vital sound that blends stirring roots reggae with thrilling harmonic pop. This collection represents all sides of the Sattalite sound, from the bubbling joy of "Wild" to the horn-driven ride of "Sunroof." Two can mak...
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