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: Queen - We Will Rock You

Feature Article: Queen - We Will Rock You
What a difference a few decades make. When Queen first came to prominence in the early 1970s, the British band was panned for its bombastic blend of glam rock and heavy metal posturing. The five-word dismissal by Village Voice critic Robert Christgau of Queen II  (“Wimpoid royaloid heavoid android void.”) was typical at the time. Fast forward to the early ’80s and Queen, led by flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury, is performing in Latin American soccer stadiums to rock’s largest audiences. A decade later, after Mercury’s AIDS-related death, the band gets a commercial boost when “Bohemian Rhapsody” is featured in the movie hit Wayne’s World . Now, the belated coronation is complete, and ...
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Feature Article: Feist and the art of flow

Feist is sitting in a Latin American café in Toronto’s west end, sipping mint tea and talking enthusiastically about ocean waves. She’s just returned from a rare week off in Mexico, where she holidayed with buddies Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, of Norwegian folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience. “My friends were telling me to watch out for the riptide, because it’ll pull you out,” Feist recalls. “But all you have to do is just go with it and it’ll pull you back to shore. You just have to go the full cycle. People don’t have faith in that. They don’t realize it’s all about flow and cycles and currents.” She adds: “I’ve been thinking a lot about that stuff lately, about movement and the natura...
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Cover Story: Fantastic Feist

Cover Story: Fantastic Feist
Toronto’s Music Gallery is housed in St. George the Martyr Church, on the edge of a park and a stone’s throw from Queen Street West. The tiny building, with its stained-glass windows and excellent acoustics, served as a fitting launch pad last March for Feist’s latest album, The Reminder . There, on an unseasonably mild evening, 200 invited guests sat on pews and waited for the Canadian artist’s arrival. As the lights dimmed, the anticipation was palpable. “Thanks for helping us kick off the training wheels,” said Feist, before she and her band performed 11 compositions from the album. The hour-long set served immediate notice that an important new songwriter had arrived. Of course, Feist wa...
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Feature Article: The Decemberists and the art of historical fiction

Feature Article: The Decemberists and the art of historical fiction
Colin Meloy has always had a vivid imagination. When he was in Grade Two, he wrote a play called The Bloody Knight, about a ghost that haunts a forest by a medieval castle. “It was particularly gruesome,” recalls Meloy cheerfully. “The ghost ends up slaughtering all of the knights at the castle.” The play was staged at his elementary school in Portland, Oregon for an audience of students and teachers. “Thankfully,” adds Meloy, “I had a really supportive teacher who didn’t seem too bothered by all the violence. These days, I’m sure that sort of thing would be cause for some concern within the educational system.” Fortunately, Meloy later found another creative outlet for his wild stories: The...
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Feature Article: Dixie Chicks take the long way

Feature Article: Dixie Chicks take the long way
Lubbock, Texas is famous as the birthplace of Buddy Holly, the pioneering rocker who inspired The Beatles. It’s also the birthplace of the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, who sings about her hometown on “Lubbock or Leave It,” a roadhouse rocker from the group’s latest album that conjures up images of both Holly and an unwelcoming redneck town. “Dust bowl, Bible belt, got more churches than trees/Raise me, praise me, couldn’t save me, couldn’t keep me on my knees,” Maines warbles. “Oh boy, rave on down loop 289/That’ll be the day you see me back in this fool’s paradise.” Although the song was triggered by a documentary about a Lubbock teenage girl who tried, unsuccessfully, to have sex educatio...
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Feature Article: The Killers - America's best new band

Feature Article: The Killers - America's best new band
Some bands get the Bono Talk, where U2’s Pope-like singer advises aspiring musicians on various rock truths and how to keep it real. Others get the Elton Chat, with Captain Fantastic dispensing his own sparkling pearls of wisdom. The Killers received the latter while Sir Elton was performing in the group’s glitzy hometown of Las Vegas. Brandon Flowers, The Killers’ singer-keyboardist, recalls that John was doing his thing at Caesar’s Palace last year as his band was recording across the street at the Palm Hotel and Casino. “We’d shoot over to catch his show every now and then and one day he dropped in to see us in the studio—it was quite an honor,” says Flowers. And what did the Chat entail?...
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Cover Story: Neko Case - The Singer & the Song

Cover Story: Neko Case - The Singer & the Song
For years, Neko Case has been hailed as a siren, a honky-tonk angel with a stunning contralto described variously as “eerie,” “luscious,” “transcendent” and “the purest voice to emerge from the independent music scene in more than a decade.” But with her fourth studio album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Case has been winning high praise for another talent: songwriting. And the accolades for her songs are every bit as wide-ranging as those for her vocals. One critic even used four very different adjectives in a single sentence—“uplifting,” “melancholic,” “rollicking” and “ominous”—to describe them. Let’s just say that Case has never been easy to categorize. American born and Canadian bred,...
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