Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

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Music Feature: Beatlemania Toronto Style

Music Feature: Beatlemania Toronto Style
The Beatles changed the world in countless ways, but they also dramatically changed Toronto over three consecutive years of performances (1964 to 1966) at Maple Leaf Gardens. Almost overnight, the city was hit with a cultural shift of seismic proportions: Boys grew Beatle-bangs, girls pinned photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo on their walls and parents worried about the sanity of their teenaged children. Canada’s folk darlings, Ian & Sylvia, had ruled up to that point, but as the male half of that duo, Ian Tyson, remembers, “the minute the Beatles arrived, it was over – well and truly over.” The folk boom slowed, as every kid on the block rushed to form rock bands. Toronto’s music sc...
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Blog Post: Bill King's Conversation with Nicholas Jennings

Blog Post: Bill King's Conversation with Nicholas Jennings
I’ve had a casual relationship with music journalist Nicholas Jennings through the years; always a fan of his writing and passion for music. We served together on a panel years back for one of those Ontario Arts giveaways and mostly saw eye to eye. We just happen to be sharing duties with a not so generous singer hell bent on not freeing any grant money to other female singers. This is why I’m not a big fan of these practices other than you do meet some lovely folks who you’d likely never spend a solid three to six hour sit down most days. We picked up on what was going down and made sure the deserving was fairly treated. I invited Nick to drop by my radio show last week and just as suspecte...
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Blog Post: The Bygone Blues of C.W. Stoneking

Blog Post: The Bygone Blues of C.W. Stoneking
C.W. Stoneking is the best blues artist you’ve never heard, a distinctly white performer (dressed head-to-toe in white as well) from the far northern reaches of Australia, a man who inhabits the sounds and vernacular of traditional music so convincingly it’s as if he’s been mysteriously transported from the distant past and landed smack dab in the middle of the bright and shiny present. He slicks his hair down with Brylcreem, plays old-time blues, country and calypso on a 1930s Dobro or 1950s Gretsch electric, uses only vintage tube amplifiers and spouts antiquated expressions as he tells his fabulously tall tales of shipwrecks, voodoo and talking lions. He’s a cross between carnival barker,...
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Music Review: Various artists - I Saw the Light

Music Review: Various artists - I Saw the Light
British actor Tom Hiddleston shines as Hank Williams in the new biopic. Coached by country star Rodney Crowell, Tom sings convincing renditions of Hank’s classics, including “Jambalaya,” “Move It On Over” and “Hey Good Lookin’.” The soundtrack also features songs by such period stars as Eddy Arnold, Eartha Kitt and Jo Stafford.
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Music Review: Kacy & Clayton - Strange Country

Music Review: Kacy & Clayton - Strange Country
Clayton Linthicum and his second cousin Kacy Anderson hail from southern Saskatchewan, but Clayton’s guitar and Kacy’s voice are rooted in the British folk styles of Davey Graham and Sandy Denny. With songs like the beguiling title track and the dreamy “If You Ask How I’m Keeping,” it’s an intoxicating, otherworldly brew. 
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Music Review: Beyoncé - Lemonade

Music Review: Beyoncé - Lemonade
It’s easy to see Beyoncé’s new album as an angry response to a broken marriage. Some songs seem to confirm rumors of alleged infidelities and an impending split with rapper husband Jay-Z. “We built sand castles that washed away,” Beyoncé sings wistfully, before venting “What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you.” Anger is most visceral on “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” a raw number featuring Jack White’s bluesy guitar. But the album also explores themes of hope, forgiveness and redemption and includes “Freedom,” her Black Lives Matter anthem with Kendrick Lamar. “It’s time to listen, it’s time to fight,” Beyoncé sings on “Forward,” a duet with James Blake. By the time she confesses, “How I ...
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Music Review: Rufus Wainwright - Take All of My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets

Music Review: Rufus Wainwright - Take All of My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets
Grandiosity comes naturally to Rufus. The acclaimed singer-songwriter has an unabashed love of dramatic music. In 2007, he recreated Judy Garland’s legendary 1961 Carnegie Hall concert. His most recent album is a recording of his own opera Prima Donna . Now Rufus has embraced his love of Shakespeare, something he’s explored a little before. Actors Carrie Fisher, William Shatner and Helena Bonham Carter recite sonnets, while members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra back Rufus and his assortment of guest vocalists. Rufus and Austrian coloratura soprano Anna Prohaska offer male and female takes on “A Woman’s Face,” and his sister Martha Wainwright joins him on “Unperfect Actor.” Rufus even dips in...
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