Daniel Lanois hopes his new album offers ‘refuge’ for these ‘troubled times’


TORONTO — Daniel Lanois says he hopes his new gospel-fused album “Heavy Sun” offers listeners “some kind of refuge” in these “troubled times” we’re living in.

The seven-time Grammy-winning producer and musician, who’s worked with U2, Bob Dylan and Brian Eno, reflected on the violence, racism and pandemic anxiety that’s gripped the world over the past year.

And he says he thought society would’ve “evolved past all that” hatred at this point in history.

The 69-year-old Lanois says “Heavy Sun,” recorded in the months before the pandemic, captures a sense of community and resilience that’s just as needed today.

The album was a collaborative effort between Lanois and his bandmates in the Heavy Sun Orchestra, whom he affectionately calls “the Four Musketeers.”

The group is led by vocalist Johnny Shepherd, an organist and choir director from Louisiana-based Zion Baptist Church. Lanois co-produced the album, and he also sings and plays guitar on it.

David Friend, The Canadian Press