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 White Stripes - A Seven Nation Army Couldn't Hold Them Back

Feature Article: The White Stripes - A Seven Nation Army Couldn't Hold Them Back
Mention the White Stripes and most people think of garage-rock revival groups like the Strokes and the Hives. True, the Detroit duo does owe something to the raw, three-chord tradition of 1960s’ classics like “Louie Louie” and “Wild Thing.” But the group’s tastes run much deeper, all the way back to blues artists like Son House and Blind Willie McTell, prompting some critics to describe them as a mutant blues band. Fact is, singer-guitarist Jack White and his ex-wife drummer Meg White are art-rockers—not of the King Crimson variety, but of the modernist aesthetic sort. From their name, taken from the peppermint candy and symbolizing childhood and innocence, to their use of simple musical for...
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Feature Article: Sarah McLachlan gets a fresh glow on

Feature Article: Sarah McLachlan gets a fresh glow on
Six years is an eternity in pop music. Hits come and go. Superstars quickly fade, only to be supplanted by a new round of pop royalty. An artist who falls out of the limelight runs the risk of being quickly forgotten. Such is the transitory nature of the music world that keeping one’s hat in the ring is essential for any pop performer looking at career longevity. Sarah McLachlan needn’t worry. Although it’s been half a dozen years been since her last album, Surfacing, the Vancouver diva’s profile has remained high through remixes, charity work and her role as brainchild and den mother of the hugely successful Lilith Fair festivals. There are also good reasons why it’s taken McLachlan so long...
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Feature Article: Radiohead gets warm, cuddly and danceable

Feature Article: Radiohead gets warm, cuddly and danceable
My 13-year-old son, Duncan, came with me to a listening session for the new Radiohead album, Hail to the Thief, organized by EMI in an IMAX theatre equipped with massive, state-of-the-art, surround-sound speakers. Duncan writes about music for a magazine called Brand New Planet, so he had a legitimate reason for attending. (In truth he was more excited about seeing a sneak preview of The Matrix Reloaded that EMI had added.) As the lights in the IMAX theatre darkened and the hypnotic groove of the opening track “2+2=5” kicked in, my son and I settled in for an accentuated aural experience. By the time he heard the dreamy, rhythmic strains of “There, There,” Duncan leaned over to me and whispe...
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Feature Article: Juno Awards - Rock, the Canadian way

Feature Article: Juno Awards - Rock, the Canadian way
It's Juno week again. And once more, those vying for awards in Canadian music's biggest lovefest run the gamut from artistic to plastic-from the always compelling Leonard Cohen to the prefabricated pop quartet Sugar Jones. The Junos, Canada's answer to the Grammys, have always been rife with eccentricities, as Cohen noted in 1993 while accepting an award. "It's only in a country like this," mused the man with the infamous monotone, "that I could get Male Vocalist of the Year." Cohen's competition that year included Neil Young, who is also not known for his dulcet tones. Young won the award two years later. After that, the category name was changed to Best Male Artist to prevent more bad joke...
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Feature Article: Brad Roberts - Crash Test Dude

Feature Article: Brad Roberts - Crash Test Dude
Brad Roberts, the Crash Test dude, is no dummy. Although he’s a Grinch who hates Christmas, can’t stomach turkey and is practically Scrooge-like in his refusal to buy presents for people or accept gifts from others, he knows that Christmas music is too good a thing to pass up. And what better way to use The Voice—that infamous basso-profundo instrument of his—than to have it reverberate in all of its woofer-shredding glory on centuries-old hymns and carols? But Roberts, once dubbed “Professor of Irony at the School of Postmodernism,” didn’t stop there. He gave some of his favorite seasonal songs the sort of oddball twist that made Crash Test Dummies such a worldwide phenomenon. The result is...
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Cover Story: Alicia Keys - Alicia in Wonderland

Cover Story: Alicia Keys - Alicia in Wonderland
She has the hooks and the looks—and depth and diversity too. Barely out of her teens, Alicia Keys may be the most sophisticated new artist working in pop music today, the anti-Britney that critics and many discerning listeners have longed for. But is she the real deal? Is she more talent than hype? And can the classically trained singer-pianist possibly live up to the daunting comparisons with her legendary, soulful predecessors? Already, Keys is off to a damn good start. Her debut album, much of which she wrote, arranged and co-produced herself, has sold more than seven million copies and won her a raft of awards, including an astonishing five Grammys. Songs in A Minor features an ambitious...
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Feature Article: Homespun and hip - Old-time country sounds

Feature Article: Homespun and hip - Old-time country sounds
Oh brother, what's going on here? Bluegrass and gospel suddenly seem as hot as hip-hop and electronica. Banjos and mandolins are replacing keyboards and drum machines as the instruments du jour. And sing-along hootenannies are taking over at least a few downtown clubs across the country. Ever since the O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound track started selling by the truckload, old-time country music is everywhere: at summer festivals, on college radio, even at the neighbourhood Starbucks. The trend has nothing to do with Nashville or guys in big hats with names like Garth. It's a musical revolution of a different sort -- out with the new, in with the old. Canadian guitarist Colin Linden, who co...
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