Trey Anastasio on Toots Hibbert: 'I've Loved His Music My Entire Life' - Rolling Stone
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Trey Anastasio Pays Tribute to Toots Hibbert: ‘I’ve Loved His Music My Entire Life’

“Toots was a ray of light, so kind and welcoming,” Phish guitarist and Hibbert collaborator says of reggae legend

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MAY 03:  Toots & The Maytals perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on May 3, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Josh Brasted/WireImage)

Phish’s Trey Anastasio penned a tribute to Toots and the Maytals' Toots Hibbert following the reggae legend's death Saturday.

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Phish’s Trey Anastasio — who collaborated with Frederick “Toots” Hibbert on a new version of the Maytals’ “Sweet and Dandy” in 2003 — penned a tribute to the reggae legend following Hibbert’s death Saturday.

“I was so sad to wake up this morning and hear about the passing of Toots Hibbert,” Anastasio wrote on Instagram. “Like so many people, I’ve loved his music my entire life. It was ubiquitous, playing at parties and gatherings. It felt like an element, like air.”

Anastasio then shared an anecdote about recording at the band’s “Barn” studio for a session that ended up on Hibbert’s all-star True Love LP. “When Toots and the band arrived for the session, I was nervous and basically speechless,” the guitarist wrote.

“Toots was a ray of light, so kind and welcoming. The guys in the band hovered in the corner, smoking more ganja than I had ever seen consumed.”

After the “Sweet and Dandy” session, Hibbert was next scheduled to collaborate with Willie Nelson, “but Willie was not there of course.” “Toots began searching, playing different Willie songs deafeningly loud through the giant speakers in the barn, while a bunch of us stood next to him by the soundboard,” Anastasio remembered. “He said that he had to believe every single word in order to sing a song, a lesson I’ll never forget.”

Hibbert ultimately selected Nelson’s “Still Is Still Moving to Me.” “Toots sang his vocal, moving and dancing with his body, embodying every single syllable, like an open tube to the cosmos,” Anastasio wrote. “Thank you Toots for a lifetime of joy and blessings.”

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I was so sad to wake up this morning and hear about the passing of Toots Hibbert. Like so many people, I’ve loved his music my entire life. It was ubiquitous, playing at parties and gatherings. It felt like an element, like air. In 2003, I was asked to play on Toot’s new album, True Love. I was told that the Maytals were coming to the Barn to record. When Toots and the band arrived for the session, I was nervous and basically speechless. Toots was a ray of light, so kind and welcoming. The guys in the band hovered in the corner, smoking more ganja than I had ever seen consumed. We decided to play Sweet and Dandy. I was a bit mortified and confused as to why such an iconic song should be re-released, but we recorded it, and it was was a thrill. What happened next I will never forget for as long as I live. Toots was supposed to do a song with Willie Nelson, but Willie was not there of course. Toots began searching, playing different Willie songs deafeningly loud through the giant speakers in the barn, while a bunch of us stood next to him by the soundboard. He said that he had to believe every single word in order to sing a song, a lesson I’ll never forget. He heard “Still is Still Moving to Me” and liked the song, and then as I stood watching, he and the Maytals recorded that track, live in the barn. Willie added his vocal after the fact. As long as I live, I will never forget watching it all go down. On playback, the engineer turned the bass ALL the way up. I don’t even know how to describe how booming it was. The bass knob was pinned to the right and the speakers were on 10. I’ve never heard bass that loud in my life. The barn was literally shaking. My guts were shaking. It was incredible. Toots sang his vocal, moving and dancing with his body, embodying every single syllable, like an open tube to the cosmos. Thank you Toots for a lifetime of joy and blessings. Rest In Peace. 📷: @david.corio

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Following Hibbert’s death late Friday at the age of 77, artists like Ziggy Marley, the Rolling Stones and Jimmy Cliff have remembered the legendary reggae singer.

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