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.

Music Feature: Leon Redbone - The Cult of Redbone

Music Feature: Leon Redbone - The Cult of Redbone
For more than 25 years, Leon Redbone has been conjuring up the past with his Roaring Twenties show tunes and turn-of-the-century minstrel ditties. Wearing his trademark fedora and Groucho Marx moustache, he became a fixture on TV’s Saturday Night Live   and The Tonight Show   with Johnny Carson during the 1970s and ‘80s, when he attracted legions of fans and supporters, from Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur to Tom Waits and Dr. John.  Another admirer, Bob Dylan, once told   Rolling Stone   magazine that if he ever formed his own record label, Leon Redbone would be his first signing. Now Dylan has complimented him again: several songs on Dylan’s latest album, the fine, ...
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Music Feature: Annie Lennox - The First Lady

Music Feature: Annie Lennox - The First Lady
When I first met her, she spoke in a whisper, protecting the gold-plated vocal cords that had made Eurythmics one of the top musical acts on the planet. Annie Lennox was staying in a quiet residential neighborhood near West Hollywood, while she and Eurythmic Dave Stewart rehearsed for the band’s Revenge tour. It was the summer of ’86 and Lennox looked every bit the striking pop icon, one whose theatrical, gender-bending and diva-vamping appearances had transformed the pop landscape. Dressed in a pink satin blouse and a brightly colored plaid suit, a variation on her native Scottish tartan, she spoke at length about music, image and Eurythmics’ battle for artistic control. Fast forward more t...
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Music Feature: John Legend - Mr. Legend Comes to Town

Music Feature: John Legend - Mr. Legend Comes to Town
It’s a muggy day and John Legend is trying his best to stay cool. The gifted American soul singer is in a Toronto Baptist church for a photo shoot and it’s proving to be one serious sweat-fest. Between costume changes and impromptu performances on an electric piano, Legend towels off and stations himself next to an industrial-sized electric fan. He doesn’t mind being a clothes horse, especially when the wardrobe’s supplied by Hugo Boss, but the wool trousers and vest are almost unbearably hot. Still, it’s all in a day’s work for the award-winning artist, who’s busy promoting his upcoming sophomore album. Sitting shirtless, looking handsome and buff, the 27-year-old Legend spoke about his chi...
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Feature Article: Cowboy Troubadour - Ian Tyson

Feature Article: Cowboy Troubadour - Ian Tyson
The auditorium was a sea of cowboy hats in a variety of styles—High Sierra, Ridgetop and Cattleman. The ranchers, cowhands and wives were assembled last month in a convention centre in northern Nevada for a tribute to the 19th-century American western artist Charles Russell. But the first performer to step onstage was not an American--it was Canada’s Ian Tyson. With his white cowboy hat tipped at a rakish angle and a white kerchief tied flamboyantly around his neck, Tyson fit right in. Carrying an acoustic guitar and accompanied by his band, the Chinook Arch Riders, the Albertan told the audience, It’s great to be back in Elko--feels just like home.” And he meant it. It was the fourth year t...
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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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Music Feature: Ay Caramba! - Music in Cuba

Music Feature: Ay Caramba! - Music in Cuba
Behind a dilapidated storefront in central Havana, an ancient ritual is under way. An old black man, sitting in a crumbling shell of a room, instructs four initiates in the art of traditional Yoruba drumming. Beneath the glare of a dangling light bulb, Elpidio Acea barely seems up to the task. Wiry and wizened, he looks like he’d have trouble keeping a heartbeat, let alone a tricky West African rhythm. But striking two cigar-shaped sticks together, he taps out the offbeat pattern that signs the drums to begin. His students, all young women, respond with a sudden flurry of beats. Today’s lesson is the guaguanc ó , one of the most complex of all Afro-Cuban rhythms. And two of the students can’...
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Feature Article: Canada's Country Music Pioneeers

Feature Article: Canada's Country Music Pioneeers
Country music has its roots in the southern United States. But just as the blues came up the Mississippi on trains and steamboats, country music traveled north on the airwaves to find a welcome home above the 49th parallel. Country has a long and vibrant history in Canada, from the honky-tonk classics of Hank Snow in the 1950s to the chart-topping country-pop hits of Shania Twain, the biggest-selling female artist of all time, in the ’90s. And Canadian artists continue to make their mark, both in Nashville and their native land, where country music appeals to an ever-growing demographic—from diehards in cowboy boots driving pickup trucks to closet fans wearing business suits on Bay Street.&n...
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