In 2010 the annual Evolve music festival was awarded CBC’s “Best Music Festival” in Canada. It became the highlight of the summer for many Maritimers, myself included, and was a splendiferous introduction to the East Coast following my move from Toronto. I performed there three times over the festival’s glorious lifespan, beginning back in 2003, when I had the great fortune to play alongside one of the legendary bass players from Jamaica’s famous Studio One recording studio. Brian Atkinson had hung up his bass for some time before I met him working as a bus driver for Metro Transit in Halifax. I was guided to him by a now dearly departed friend and colleague, Lynn Horne; an introduction that would change my life, for which I will be forever grateful.
Attending Jamaican house parties and dances in my teens back in Toronto, I had been exposed to some great old classic Studio One hits, like Dennis Brown’s “Here I Come”, which would ‘mash up the dance’ every time it was played, and rewound again. At that time I could not have foreseen that I would befriend the Studio One bass player who’s bass lines helped to define the genre, let alone play with him day in and day out for many years to come. Under the tutelage of Brian’s kind and gentle soul, I grew increasingly more familiar with the Studio One catalogue of classic Jamaican reggae. Brian’s bass line in this song “Best Friend Girl” is undoubtedly reminiscent of the golden age of Jamaican reggae’s hypnotic and infectious bass lines.
Rewind back to Evolve 2004, near Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where I was setting up my tent amidst a sea of happy hippies and ravers’ tents under a bright blue sky. A vision of a magical sprite came upon me, selling mushrooms, crowned with butterfly antennas fashioned out of copper wire. The wind carried her away, until I saw her again later that night. We spent the rest of the night basking in one another’s company, until the rain forced us to take shelter in our respective tents. When I awoke, the rain was pounding down and all the soggy hippies and jaw-clenching ravers were hurriedly packing up to drive away to seek refuge. I thought I’d never see her again.
Alas, when I arrived at work the following Monday, the sprite had sought out the bar which I tended on the Halifax waterfront and left me a note, including her number. Needless to say we talked well into the future, until she moved to Halifax so that we could be together. As partners we became best friends until one day she decided that she needed to move back to be with her family in Ontario. Brokenhearted, I penned this song in one sitting, in the empty apartment shortly after her departure.