In the early 1990's, grunge was a new genre of music that completely changed the landscape of popular music in North America. With bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam leading the wave of bands that combined Black Sabbath heaviness crossed with Beatles pop sensibilities, grunge was a new style of alternative rock that made the world stand up and take notice. Once Nirvana's 'Nevermind' hit #1 on the US charts, record label executives scoured the land, trying to find the next Nirvana. Bands that weren't even grunge or "alternative" were signed in this environment, hoping that their unique blend of musical talents would capture the world the way Nirvana did.
One such band that wasn't alternative at all, but had some of those characteristics was Toronto-based I Mother Earth. A hybrid of sorts, IME had their roots in multiple genres of music. For example, Jagori Tanna, the band's guitarist, was as much influenced by Santana as he was by Rush. This cross-styling of genres allowed the band to bring in multiple influences in order to create a style that was uniquely their own. Part alternative rock, part progressive rock and part world music, IME was the subject of a bidding war with multiple labels before they had even recorded a full-length album. Finally signing with Capitol Music, the band went about capturing their renown live shows onto tape.
With the firing of original bass player Franz Masini, the band (which comprised of Jaqori, Edwin Ghazal on vocals and Jagori's bother Christian on drums) went to Los Angeles to record with Mike Clink (Guns 'N' Roses, Megadeth), leaving Jagori to handle both the guitar and bass duties for the album on his own. Bassist Bruce Gordon joined the band at the conclusion of the recording sessions...and got credit in the liner notes for playing bass on the record, even though he didn't play a note! Nevertheless, the end result of these sessions showcased the wide array of influences that make up the I Mother Earth arsenal. From more dreamy, Doors like passages ("So Gently We Go", "Undone") to full throttle rockers full of twists and turns ("Levitate", "Basketball", "Rain Will Fall"), as well as songs that had a little bit of both styles ("Not Quite Sonic", "No One"), 'Dig' had a little bit of everything for the listener.
To try and characterize 'Dig' into any one genre would only do it a disservice, as the album has many layers of styles and influences. The band (who added percussionists Luis Conte and Armando Borg as well as Hammond B3 organist Mike Finnigan to fill out the sound on 'Dig') used the studio to condense their lengthy jam sessions into more concise statements, and Edwin's vocal style seamlessly morphs to fit whatever style is thrown his way (from dreamy soundscapes to fast-paced, almost frenetic passages). Every time you listen to 'Dig', it's possible to get something new from it, and that's one of the marks of a truly great album.
Released in August of 1993, 'Dig' had quite a bit of success in IME's native Canada. The second single from the album, "So Gently We Go", reached #1 on Canada's CANCON chart, and the album reached Platinum Record status (meaning it sold in excess of 100,00 copies) in Canada. Topping all of that off, the band was won a JUNO award in 1994 for Best Hard Rock album, beating out Rush, their childhood idols. An album unlike any other in the band's catalog, 'Dig' is an album that grooves, in part, due to the extended jams as well as Edwin's more psychedelic lyrics. The added percussive instrumentation, however, is where 'Dig' separated I Mother Earth from any their contemporaries.