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Gordie Johnson pumped about reggae legend Willi Williams playing with Big Sugar

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Gordie Johnson is excited to be back on the road with Big Sugar.Gordie Johnson and the rest of Big Sugar will be back in lethbridge, Nov. 6. Photo by Richard Amery

 They are touring on a brand new live CD/ DVD. They will be coming to Average Joes, Tuesday, Nov. 6.

“Being on the road is my natural habitat,” Johnson said, on the road back from Victoria.

 He is excited about the band’s first ever live CD, “Eliminate Ya.” which includes  classics like “Digging a Hole,” and a blues/ gospel/ reggae tinged harmonica powered 10 minute jam on “If I Had My Way” “ All Hell For A Basement” plus tracks from their latest studio CD “Revolution Per Minute.”

 It was recorded in the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg by the same crew who did the Grady live CD and DVD.

“Those guys love us, so they always bring their camera crew to our shows,” Johnson enthused adding he was impressed with the video and synched the audio to it.

“It’s our first live concert film,” he said.

Johnson, whose parents still live in Medicine Hat, is proud of his Southern Alberta roots, though he has been been living in Austin, Texas, keeping busy as a producer when he’s not living on the road as bassist for Wide Mouth Mason, his power trio Grady as well as fronting Big Sugar.

He just ended a month long tour with Wide Mouth Mason the day before the tour with Big Sugar began.

His parents don’t usually come out to his shows.
“They‘re seniors,” he said adding they were apprehensive about Johnson pursuing a career in music.

“They’ll come out when we do a theatre or sit down show. But they’re a lot more supportive now that Big Sugar has had some success,” he said.

He is excited about touring with reggae legend Willi Williams, who joins the band.
“He’s not opening for us,” said Johnson, shocked at the idea.

“ We wouldn’t have him open for us. He’s on stage with us,” Johnson enthused. Williams is adding extra vocals and hand drums to the music— whatever he feels like adding. It is quite true to Big Sugar’s improvisational roots. They know Williams because he comes from the same Jamaican town as bassist Garry Lowe. Johnson has worked with Williams before, having recorded him on Govt. Mule’s reggae record “MIghty High,” from 2007. He has also recorded with Moby. They also recorded his album in Toronto.

“It’s not so much that he’s an addition as much as it is he gives us another direction we can go to,” Johnson said.
 Though they were just here a year ago, Johnson promised a completely different show.
“ We do a lot of improvisation,” he said adding the show will include new music and the the big hits, sometimes completely re-imagined.

“ We all come from a background of blues and jam bands, and reggae band and make rock and roll from all of it. We’re not a rock band who discovered a few blues records,” Johnson described.
“ It’s going to be completely different than our last show there,” he said.

“We’re at the point  where we have people who want to hear the hits and hard core fans who demand something different every time, so we’re going to be digging deep into our back catalogue,” he said adding they keep their set lists from every show, so they can look back and see what they played before so they don’t repeat it.

While he hasn’t  been on the road constantly with Big Sugar since his last visit to Lethbridge last year, he has been far from idle. He just finished a month long tour with Wide Mouth Mason, playing bass for them, plus he has been busy as a producer, producing bands like the Trews and Govt. Mule, North Mississippi All Stars and many more.

“The new Govt. Mule record is going to be amazing. I don’t think people are ready for it,” Johnson enthused.
“Warren and I are both so busy, we’ve been talking through e-mail,” he continued.

“I think I got the best guitar sound ever from Warren and he always has a great guitar sound,” he said.
“I gave him the Marshall head I used on the first two Big Sugar albums. He put it in storage but I convinced him to dust it off,” he continued.
The show begins, at 9 p.m., Nov. 6 with opening act the Balconies. Advance tickets are $30.

— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Monday, 12 November 2012 11:34 )  
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