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.

Cover Story: Alex Cuba - A Magical Musical Blend

Cover Story: Alex Cuba - A Magical Musical Blend
With his oversized Afro and razored sideburns, Alex Cuba cuts a cool figure, a cross between ’70s soul man and stylish rocker. It’s a look that has been attracting attention ever since the musician, born Alexis Puentes in Artemisa, an hour west of Havana, first moved to Canada. But while Cuba’s appearance has turned heads—especially in the small, northern British Columbia town of Smithers where he settled with his Canadian wife, Sarah Goodacre—his music, an infectious blend of rock, reggae, soul, funk and traditional Cuban music, has been grabbing ears and winning awards. Cuba’s first two Spanish albums, Humo de Tabaco and Agua del Pozo , won Juno Awards for World Music Album of the Year. Hi...
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Feature Article: Oh Susanna, don't you cry

Feature Article: Oh Susanna, don't you cry
There's nothing morbid about Suzie Ungerleider. As her musical persona, Oh Susanna, she may be known for harrowing ballads of murder and destruction, all steeped in keening Appalachian-style vocals and plaintive pedal-steel guitars. But the acclaimed Canadian-based singer-songwriter is actually quite cheerful in person. The petite, soft-spoken musician smiled and giggled her way through most of a recent interview in Toronto. So where does this obsession with death come from? "It's really just a metaphorical device," explains the 31-year-old. "Many of my songs are about transformation. The characters in my songs, whether they're villains or victims, all go through profound changes. I like tha...
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Feature Article: East Meets West - South Asian Music in Canada

Feature Article: East Meets West - South Asian Music in Canada
One of hottest touring bands in Canada at the moment eschews the standard instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums in favour of sitar, dhol and tabla—mixed with a little Irish fiddle. Delhi 2 Dublin, a five-piece outfit from Vancouver, is riding a wave of South Asian music that has permeated western culture. This year, the group’s concert appearances have included dates at the Vancouver Olympics, the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, Festival D’Été due Québec in Quebec City and the World Routes festival at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. “We play to mostly white audiences—it’s not brown people who are coming to see us,” says Delhi 2 Dublin’s tabla player Tarun Nayar. “And they do...
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Feature Article: Teen Idols and the fast track to fame

Feature Article: Teen Idols and the fast track to fame
Some people call me a teenage idol/Some people say they envy me/I guess they got no way of knowing/How lonesome I can be   “Teenage Idol” by Ricky Nelson     Justin Timberlake knows all too well what Ricky Nelson was singing about. From his days as a 12-year-old Mouseketeer on TV’s Mickey Mouse Club through his teenage years as a member of the superstar boy band ’NSync, Timberlake experienced pop fame even before he learned how to shave. Handling female-fan adulation and media attention came as naturally to him as smiling or pursing his perfectly bee-stung lips. But the transition from ’NSync teen idol to solo star at 22 hasn’t been quite so easy. First there was his famo...
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Interview: Liam Gallagher and Oasis

Interview: Liam Gallagher and Oasis
Oasis is either the best, balls-to-the-wall rock ’n’ roll band of the last decade or the worst case in recent memory of media notoriety trumping musical talent. Blame the group itself for these wildly divergent views. While Oasis has been often capable of crafting crowd-pleasing, stadium-size rock anthems, the battling Gallagher brothers have also undermined their artistic credibility with binges, brawls and generally boorish behavior. Liam, in particular, has earned his yobbo stripes through fits of arrogance, cussing like a dockyard worker and talking shite, to use one of his own favorite expressions.     With the release this month of the two-disc, career-summarizing Stop t...
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Feature Article: Sarah Harmer - A New Wind

Feature Article: Sarah Harmer - A New Wind
Sarah Harmer’s new album—her first in five years—kicks off with the unsettling sound of crackling distortion followed by some driving electric guitar. “A new wind will blow through everything,” Harmer sings, somewhat ominously, “through everything I know.” It’s the dramatic opening of a recording that represents a stark shift away from the celebrated singer-songwriter’s last studio release, I’m a Mountain . Where that Polaris Prize-nominated album was steeped in bittersweet bluegrass, Harmer’s new oh little fire is a defiantly rockier and, mostly, happier affair. “I’ve always loved rock music and repetitive guitars and I do think this album sounds like some of my work with Weeping Tile,” say...
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Feature Article: A vital and vibrant beat - African music in Canada

Feature Article: A vital and vibrant beat - African music in Canada
Nadine McNulty remembers well the day that K’naan appeared at Toronto’s Afrofest. The year was 2000 and McNulty, as artistic director, had booked the then-unknown Somali-Canadian rapper to appear in the afternoon on the main stage at the popular outdoor festival. Rain showers failed to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm for K’naan, who performed with just one backup vocalist and a tape playback. Recalls McNulty: “It was drizzling and here was this young guy just kicking it in front of this sea of umbrellas. It’s amazing to see how he’s now taken the world by storm.” K’naan, this year’s Juno Award winner for Songwriter and Artist of the Year, is a major Canadian star and international crossover ac...
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