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Big Sugar frontman explains ‘deep significance’ of RetroFest concert - CTV News Windsor

Article by Melanie Borrelli


Big Sugar has been performing across the country for about 30 years, but the lead singer says their show in Chatham this weekend has “deep significance.”


The band is set to take the stage at the Chatham Capitol Theatre on Saturday night as part of RetroFest.


Singer-songwriter Gordie Johnson says the last year has been especially challenging for the band, after losing longtime bass player Garry Lowe to cancer.


"It's not just another gig on the calendar. It's for Garry," Johnson tells CTV News in a Facetime interview.


Proceeds from Big Sugar's show will go towards Chatham-Kent Hospice.

"That has deep significance for us because in Gary's last weeks, he was in hospice care and that's something that's been dear to my heart for decades," says Johnson.


Johnson says losing Lowe last July, midway through writing their new album “Eternity Now”, changed the entire course of the sound and lyrics.


"That really put a certain sentimentality and passion into the record that wouldn't have otherwise been there," says Johnson.

Lowe was with the band since 1994. Although it has been tough to move on, Johnson is excited about their new songs.


Fans at the Capitol Theatre will get a chance to hear the new material, along with the old favourites.


"This will be a very new show compared to the last time we played in the area,” Johnson says. “We have some new band members and a new record that will be out this fall, so we're already playing half a dozen new songs in the set."


Johnson was born in Winnipeg, but went to high school in Windsor. He says coming back to southwestern Ontario is a bit of a homecoming.

"My dad's family is all from Windsor and surrounding area and I lived there on a few occasions,” says Johnson. “It's definitely part of my musical upbringing too."


Concert doors open at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available online.


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