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: Corinne Bailey Rae's summertime vibe

Feature Article: Corinne Bailey Rae's summertime vibe
The Old Sod has a way of turning up surprisingly soulful female singers. First it was Joss Stone, a blonde, teenage schoolgirl from England’s Devon region, who burst on to the scene with a robust, older-than-her-years voice that drew comparisons to Aretha Franklin. Now comes Corinne Bailey Rae, a twentysomething singer blessed with a smoky, intimate vocal style that has caused British critics to breathlessly describe her as a young Billie Holiday. But, like EMI label mate Stone, Bailey Rae didn’t emerge from the highly cosmopolitan capital of London. Rather, the daughter of a mixed-race marriage hails from the northern city of Leeds. “My dad’s from the Caribbean and my mum’s English,” explai...
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Feature Article: John Prine - back in the saddle

Feature Article: John Prine - back in the saddle
Chicago is the cradle of modern blues, the place where Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf urbanized and electrified the music of the Mississippi Delta. But, during the ’70s, the windy city also gave rise to two of the finest singer-songwriters that America has ever produced: John Prine and Steve Goodman Like bookends in a vast library of American roots music, Prine and Goodman shared stages and a gift for wry, witty and often poignant compositions. Between them, they wrote hundreds of country, bluegrass, folk and rock ’n’ roll songs, many of which are now considered standards and covered by others: Jimmy Buffett recorded Goodman’s politically incisive “Banana Republics” and Willie Nelson made Goo...
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Feature Article: Sinéad O’Connor's spiritual rebirth

Feature Article: Sinéad O’Connor's spiritual rebirth
It’s been easy to dismiss Sinéad O’Connor as a kook, a volatile artist who seemed hell bent on career self-destruction by refusing to have the American national anthem played before her U.S. concerts and ripping up Pope John Paul II’s photo on Saturday Night Live. The backlash was swift and severe. The outspoken Irish-born singer suffered a nervous breakdown, attempted suicide and announced her retirement from the music business—several times. Last year, O’Connor took out a full-page ad in the Irish Examiner newspaper, pleading with her critics to be left alone. “I have been the whipping post of Ireland’s media for 20 years,” she wrote in the 2,000-word open letter. “If ye all think I am suc...
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Cover Story: Franz Ferdinand - reigning rock star geeks

Cover Story: Franz Ferdinand - reigning rock star geeks
It looks like Andy Warhol’s fabled Factory in New York. Walls, windows, doors and furniture are all encased in tin foil. Silver balloons add a surreal, festive touch. It’s a photo shoot for Franz Ferdinand, the reigning dukes of pop-rock, and the four band members are happy to play along. After tossing and kicking many rolls of foil, more tin-foolery follows. First, the group mummifies drummer Paul Thomson. Then, hamming it up like Ringo, Thomson turns into a crack-head Tin Man, puffing on a dubious-looking foil pipe. Blame it on their roots. “We’re a product of the Glasgow scene,” says singer Alex Kapranos, “where artists play in bands and bands perform in art galleries. There’s a great cro...
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Cover Story: Coldplay takes aim at the top

Cover Story: Coldplay takes aim at the top
Chris Martin seems perfectly at home in the Big Apple. Although quintessentially English, the Coldplay frontman talks at New York speed, his mouth racing to keep up with his hyperactive mind. And he walks fast, with a New Yorker’s sense of purpose, navigating Manhattan streets like a veteran. Martin is talking with boyish enthusiasm about Coldplay’s next album, X & Y, revealing that it was largely motivated by his becoming a father and Coldplay’s commitment to fighting global poverty. “Sure, we want to outdo Sgt. Pepper or OK Computer ,” says Martin, striding along the Hudson River on a warm February day. “But this isn’t just about me and the band. Success doesn’t mean anything if we can...
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Music Review: 25 Essential Music DVDs

1. The Last Waltz The Band’s elegant swansong is the ultimate rock concert movie. Director Martin Scorcese’s discreet camerawork and superb sound captures inspired performances from Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and others. Scorcese keeps his focus almost exclusively on the stage. Beneath three massive chandeliers, the Band pays tribute to its influences with such friends as Muddy Water (an explosive “Mannish Boy”), Neil Young (a wistful “Helpless”) and Bob Dylan (a stirring group finale on “I Shall Be Released”). But the highlight is “The Weight,” performed with gospel’s Staples family, which ranks among the most exquisite music sequences ever committed to film.     2....
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Feature Article: Live Aid - Reliving Rock's Biggest Benefit

Feature Article: Live Aid - Reliving Rock's Biggest Benefit
In rock history, July 13, 1985 will be forever known as “the day that music changed the world.” On that day, Live Aid broadcast 16-hour, all-star packed concerts from two continents to an audience of 1.5 billion—raising more than $140 million for African famine relief in the process. This, at the height of the so-called “Me Decade,” was no small feat. The money went directly to Ethiopia, providing food and saving the lives of thousands who would have otherwise starved to death in refugee camps. Besides the massive humanitarian gesture, Live Aid remains memorable for some truly transcendent musical performances, including a young U2’s emotionally-charged rendition of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” an...
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