Big Sugar strips down sound for Cookstown gig
January 21, 2015

Innisfil Journal

Canadian reggae-rockers Big Sugar are bringing their new acoustic sound to Cookstown Feb. 5.

The band, known for hits Turn The Lights On and 100 cigarettes, have stripped down their sound to create an alternative sound perfect for smaller venues like the Iron Horse in Cookstown.

They are supporting their new albumYardstyle with a multi-city tour.

Featuring reggae legend Willi Williams and an extended family of brethren, this is the heartbeat sound of Big Sugar.

“It’s like the sound of Negril at night,” frontman Gordie Johnson says.

The album is a reminder of long days on the road; a rolling jam session that travels from the bus to the radio station to the backstage lounge.

“That place where our entire band gets together on a regular basis,” Johnson says it. “We listen to the drumming and the chanting and we have a moment of mental focus before every show, we burn frankincense and other things, and everybody gets their mental game together, then we walk out and do a rock show.”

 Williams, the Jamaican-born and bred Armagideon Man’s influence is felt all over Yard Style.

“He’s a pretty major force in solidifying this thing conceptually,” Johnson says.

Williams is a semi-permanent fixture in the Big Sugar line-up, where he joins bassist Garry Lowe, drummer Stephane “Bodean” Beaudin, one-man horn section Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe and toastmaster DJ Friendlyness.

The other major force behind Yard Style? Besides the echoes of ocean and tree frogs whistling away in the distance, it’s that omnipresent nyabingi drum. “It’s the first great acoustic instrument,” Johnson says. “That’s the heartbeat sound, you know?”

Tickets for the Cookstown show on Feb. 5 are $75 each. Call the Iron Horse at 705-458-2500 for tickets.