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: Owen Pallett - Has Something to Prove

Cover Story: Owen Pallett - Has Something to Prove
His work has won Grammys, JUNOs and an Emmy, and he’s been nominated for an Oscar. He’s an acclaimed solo artist, frequent collaborator with Arcade Fire, composer for ballets and symphonies, and the music industry’s go-to guy for lavish orchestral arrangements. On top of that, Brian Eno is one of his biggest fans. And yet, Owen Pallett still finds himself wracked by self-doubt. “I always feel like I have something to prove,” admits the 34-year-old indie pop auteur. “I’m constantly trying to prove to myself that my songs are worth writing. I don’t see that as a bad thing,” he adds. “A lot of songwriters out there haven’t settled into a confident state.” Growing up on a small farm outside of T...
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Feature Article: Souljazz Orchestra and the Inner Fire

Feature Article: Souljazz Orchestra and the Inner Fire
Listening to the Souljazz Orchestra is like to taking a rhythm-crazed, horn-drenched trip across the planet, hopping from Latin salsa and Caribbean funk to African beats and jazz from east and west. For a dozen years, the tropically inspired, Ottawa-based band has crisscrossed Europe and North America, introducing its exotic musical mosaic to enthusiastic audiences and critical acclaim. This summer is no different, as the group—hot on the heels of its excellent sixth album, Inner Fire —continues to blaze a trail at festivals on both continents. Souljazz leader Pierre Chrétien says the six-piece ensemble also hopes to reach South America and Africa for the first time this year. That Souljazz ...
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Feature Article: QuiQue Escamilla's Mexican fusion

Feature Article: QuiQue Escamilla's Mexican fusion
It’s a chilly March night in Toronto during a brutal winter seemingly without end. But inside the Lula Lounge, the city’s home of Latin, jazz and world music, it’s a tropical heat wave as Mexican roots star QuiQue Escamilla is performing his fiery blend of ranchera, mariachi, huapango, blues rock and reggae. Launching his excellent debut album, 500 Years of Night , Escamilla is joined by an equally diverse set of musical friends. Bluesman Paul Reddick plays harp on “Canción Mixteca,” giving the Mexican folksong a powerful, haunting feel not heard in Ry Cooder’s version on Paris, Texas . Belle Starr’s Stephanie Cadman provides stirring Celtic fiddle and step dancing on “Huapango del Tequila.”...
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Cover Story: Gordon Lightfoot - On Songwriting

Cover Story: Gordon Lightfoot - On Songwriting
On an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving, Gordon Lightfoot is in an uncharacteristically reflective mood, sipping coffee and looking back on a career that has produced every kind of song imaginable: historical epics, romantic ballads, sea shanties, country ditties, folk-style protests and bluesy “toe-tappers,” to use Lightfoot’s quaint term for his uptempo numbers. Many became hits; many more are considered iconic, as quintessentially Canadian as a Group of Seven painting or Alice Munro short story. To say that he’s been prolific is like saying the CN Tower looms over Toronto. Sitting in the kitchen of his sprawling home in North York’s exclusive Bridle Path neighborhood, the 75-year-old legend ...
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Feature Article: A Tribe Called Red

Feature Article: A Tribe Called Red
Ian Campeau will never forget the first Electric Pow Wow night. It was 2008 and he and fellow aboriginal DJ Bear Witness had the idea to host a club event in Ottawa similar to ones held for the Korean and East Indian communities. “We wanted to throw a party that was culturally specific to the First Nations people,” recalls Campeau, aka DJ NDN. “We started adding pow wow vocal and drumming samples to electronic dance music and people went crazy. It was obvious this was a big thing was missing in the community.” Campeau and Bear Witness then teamed up with Dan General, aka DJ Shub, to form A Tribe Called Red and their Electric Pow Wow nights became even bigger events. Initially, their music wa...
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Feature Article: Kobo Town and the roots of calypso

Feature Article: Kobo Town and the roots of calypso
Drew Gonsalves laughs about how he had to leave Trinidad to discover the rich calypso tradition of his birthplace. As a teenager, he was far more interested in rock and heavy metal music than the songs of Roaring Lion or the Mighty Sparrow. The legendary Lord Kitchener even lived up the street from his family home in Diego Martin, a suburb of Port-of-Spain, but he remained unimpressed. “I was very typical of a middle-class Trinidadian boy in that I had a taste for all things foreign,” admits Gonsalves, “which is something that (novelist) V.S. Naipaul wrote so scathingly about in the 1960s. Calypso was always in the air, but I just wasn’t interested.” That all changed when Gonsalves’ mother, ...
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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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