Gordie Johnson

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Gordie Johnson
Gordie and Kelly of Big Sugar.jpg
Johnson, left, with Kelly Hoppe
Background information
BornWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
OriginWindsor, Ontario, Canada Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
GenresReggae, rock
Occupation(s)Guitarist, singer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, bass
Years active1988–present
Associated actsBig Sugar, Grady, Wide Mouth Mason, Sit Down Servant, Gov't Mule
Johnson performing with Grady at the London Balloon Festival, 2006

Gordie Johnson is a Canadian musician, best known as the front man for the reggae rock band Big Sugar, Austin-based latin jazz band Sit Down Servant and southern rock band Grady.


Johnson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, of Ukrainian descent.[1] He grew up in Windsor, Ontario, starting his professional music career while still in high school as he frequently crossed the river to play in Detroit, Michigan. He played all genres of music in both Detroit and Windsor. Johnson's family moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta as he was going into his last year of high school. He completed school and then immediately returned East to become a full-time musician. He is a vocalist and guitarist for the reggae rock band Big Sugar,[2] the latin jazz band Sit Down Servant in which he plays a triple-neck steel guitar along with Moog bass pedals, and the cowboy metal band Grady. Alex Johnson, his wife, is the long time manager of all these bands and currently performs and cowrites in Big Sugar.

Johnson also works as a producer, mixer and session musician. He has produced or mixed albums and tracks for artists such as Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes, The Glorious Sons, Taj Mahal, Bushwick Bill, Toots Hibbert, Sarah Slean, The Trews, Joel Plaskett Emergency, The Respectables, Tim Chaisson, Len, Reel Big Fish, Chris Duarte, Caroline Neron, Meredith Shaw, as well as playing and/or recording with Chris Robinson, Rich Robinson, Colin James, Default, Honky, Len, Molly Johnson, Jonny Lang and Double Trouble, Ashley MacIsaac, the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir and Big Rude Jake. Johnson is a bandleader, solo artist and also plays in other bands. In 1999 Johnson performed solo as part of The White Ribbon Concert at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.[3]. He has toured as a bass player with Rich Robinson and Wide Mouth Mason and currently plays bass and tres guitar with Rey Arteaga's latin music group based in Austin, Texas when not on tour with Big Sugar.

Awards & Recognition[edit]

Johnson has earned numerous gold and platinum records with his band Big Sugar and as producer or musician with such acts as The Trews and Default.

Johnsons' Big Sugar has multiple Juno Award nominations including 1995 Breakthrough Artist, 1997 Rock Album of the Year and 1998 Group of the Year.

In 1995 Big Sugar won the European Edison Award one of the oldest music awards in the world.

In 2000 Johnson was named to the 'Toronto Star Best Dressed' list, a culmination of his decades long Hugo Boss endorsement.

SOCAN #1 Song Awards as songwriter for Big Sugar "The Scene" in 1998 and The Trews "Not Ready To Go" in 2002.

In 2003, Gibson guitar released a special edition limited run "Gordie Johnson signature series SGJ" guitar that incorporated fashion house Hugo Boss with a HUGO neckstrap and hardshell case (as the longtime clothing endorser of Gordie Johnson and Big Sugar). Hard Rock Café Hotel & Casino created a Gordie Johnson display in the Vancouver, Canada location for it's opening in 2013 that featured the "SGJ".

In 2005 Johnson and his Grady bandmates won Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards.

In 2007 COCA (Canadian Organization of Campus Activities) inducted Johnsons' Big Sugar into the Hall of Fame.

In 2010 Gordie Johnson was inducted into the Canada South Blues Society Hall of Fame.

In 2011, Gordie Johnson was nominated for a Grammy for his producer role on the Warren Haynes album "Man In Motion". This followed the Grammy nominated Taj Mahal album that he co-produced/engineered in 2008.

WCMA nominations for Producer of the Year 2012, Engineer of the Year 2013.

In 2015 Johnson and his Big Sugar bandmates were awarded a Road Gold Award.


Big Sugar[edit]

Sit Down Servant[edit]


Wide Mouth Mason[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Darryl Sterdan (27 June 2011). "Big Sugar sweet on hitting the road". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Big Sugar Biography". Maple Music. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Live Reviews: The White Ribbon Concert The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Ontario". Chart Attack, June 8, 1999, by Mike McCann

External links[edit]