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.

Feature Article: The Sadies and the Good stuff

Feature Article: The Sadies and the Good stuff
Dallas and Travis Good have worked with Neil Young, author Margaret Atwood, Randy Bachman, Buffy Sainte-Marie and actor Gordon Pinsent. But it was another Canadian icon—one with whom they’ve yet to collaborate—who offered some crucial wisdom. It was 1996, when their band the Sadies was getting started, and Dallas’ and Travis’ father, Bruce, of bluegrass heroes the Good Brothers, was celebrating his 50 th birthday at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern. Into the club walks Gordon Lightfoot, who’d had the senior Goods open for him during the 1970s. “Afterwards,” Travis recalls, “Lightfoot turned to us and says, ‘The only advice I’ll give you is do your own songs.’ We took heed and started getting rid o...
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Feature Article: k.d. lang - Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee

Feature Article: k.d. lang - Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee
She arrived like a chinook in the dead of winter. When k.d. lang first blew out of Alberta in the mid-1980s, her look, personality and voice seemed to be exactly what everyone was hankering for: theatricality, irreverence and authenticity. There was mischief in her subversion of Nashville stereotypes, but there was no mistaking her true love of country music—nor her pure, unvarnished vocal talent. Having conquered country, lang did the same thing with pop music, establishing a 30-year career that has earned the highest accolades and awards. “Her voice is pretty flawless,” notes fellow Albertan Jann Arden. “She can sing anything and it’s always heartfelt, emotive and believable.” Other vocali...
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Feature Article: The Messengers' songwriting magic

Feature Article: The Messengers' songwriting magic
For Adam Messinger and Nasri Atweh, success has come from having the right songs at the right time. Within a month of relocating to Los Angeles from Toronto in 2007, the songwriting-producing duo known as the Messengers had met singer-actor Donnie Wahlberg, then searching for songs for a New Kids on the Block record. Atweh, who once performed as a solo artist, wound up co-writing four songs while he and Messinger co-wrote another. It proved to be the group’s comeback album. A few months later, Atweh and Messinger provided songs to a Michael Bolton album. The Canadians’ contributions were praised for adding a seductive, calm air to what critics called Bolton’s most confident release in years....
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Feature Article: Passing the Torch - musical progeny

Feature Article: Passing the Torch - musical progeny
When Dustin Bentall was 12, he spent the summer with his parents at a cabin they bought in Cariboo Country, in British Columbia’s interior. There his father, veteran Canadian musician Barney Bentall, taught him the guitar to Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Dustin loved it and played the song constantly. One day his dad took him into the city, stopping at a music store where Dustin got to try out the song on electric guitar, before proceeding on to his North Vancouver recording studio. Recalls Dustin: “We arrived at the studio and my dad’s band was all there. He says to me, ‘Pick up that guitar and show the guys that song you know.’ I was pretty shy and hesitant at first. But I started ...
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Feature Article: Great Lake Swimmers' new energy

Feature Article: Great Lake Swimmers' new energy
For Tony Dekker, recording—like real estate—is all about location. The Great Lake Swimmers frontman has made a habit of working in unusual settings, beginning with his Toronto-based group’s 2003 self-titled debut, which was recorded in an abandoned grain silo. Since then, Dekker has opted for churches, legion halls and even an historic castle in the Thousand Islands to commit his atmospheric folk-rock songs to tape. With its fifth album, New Wild Everywhere , the Great Lake Swimmers chose what was, for them, an exotic location: a real recording studio. “It was a new challenge for us,” laughs Dekker. “We’ve been so used to all the work that goes into putting together these location recordings...
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Cover Story: Hey Rosetta! - Literary songwriting worth yelling about

Cover Story: Hey Rosetta! - Literary songwriting worth yelling about
Tim Baker has a problem. As frontman for Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta!, one of Canada’s fastest-rising, hardest-working bands, he is touring for nine months of the year, performing concerts on three continents. Trouble is, Baker is also the group’s chief songwriter and he has yet to master the knack of writing songs on the road. “When I finally get home, it’s difficult for me to set time aside because there’s so much else to do,” admits Baker. “Your house is falling apart, you haven’t seen your friends forever and you have to design the band’s next T-shirt. All this stuff creeps in and the writing gets pushed out.” Despite those obstacles, Baker has been able to write songs for all three of th...
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Feature Article: The Midway State - From Riches to Rags and Back Again

Feature Article: The Midway State - From Riches to Rags and Back Again
Nathan Ferraro doesn’t seem the least bit bitter—which is surprising, given everything he’s been through. In fact, the affable, afro-haired frontman exudes all the serenity of a Buddhist monk, as he sits in a Toronto café and calmly recounts the rise, fall and rise again of his band, the Midway State. Ferraro and his bandmates were teenagers from Collingwood, Ontario, a small ski town two hours north of Toronto, when they became the subject of an intense bidding war from 13 record labels. After being flown around the world and getting wined and dined by industry executives, including legendary figures like Clive Davis and Jimmy Iovine, they eventually signed a deal with Iovine’s Interscope l...
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