Crack of Dawn have been one of Canada’s greatest musical success stories since their inception nearly 40 years ago. They combine the bass-rumbling funkalicious onslaught of Parliament; the slick immediate joy of Earth, Wind and Fire and the tarmac-melting swoon of classic deep soul ballads, yet only now return to pick up where they left off.
To accuse Crack of Dawn as being a collective of experienced musicians would be putting it mildly: featuring among their ranks:
Guitarist and producer Carl Harvey has been lead guitarist with Toots & the Maytals since their1980 “Live at Hammersmith” album, sharing in their Grammy win in 2004. His work with Toots & the Maytals included world tour support slots with the likes ofRolling Stones and Santana. Also aboard is Rupert Harvey, founder of Canada’s most successful reggae band, Messenjah,not to mention, sax player, Alvin Jones; trombonist, Trevor Daley who has played with reggae behemoths, Third World;the Latin tones of trumpeter Alexis Baro, drummer Carl Otway, bassist Charles Sinclair who has played with Al Green, and, not leastly, the generously-buttered soulful voice of Michael Dunston, an aural experience like dipping your head in whipped cream. Like the greatest of funk and rhythm and blues bands, they work as a breathtakingly agile unit, more of a force of nature than a band.
They were the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS), were discovered by Otis Redding’s producer and outsold their contemporaries, Earth, Wind and Fire in Canada. Despite being tipped for even bigger things by Billboard in the USA, all has been eerily quiet for some time…until now. Their new track, Spotlight, sees them in reflective mood, on one level, a heartfelt love song, but more keenly, a message from the band themselves, to express their gratitude to their fans and each other for keeping their music alive. Like pouring moonlight in one ear and sunshine into the other, this is true soul music, performed by a band at the height of their powers playing their own instruments and bringing the glories of their past to the present day.