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.

The Full Nine - The Full Nine

Veterans of Toronto cover bands, the Full Nine “grooves with the purposeful stagger of a drunk negotiating his way through a crowded bar to get to the can,” ventures the group’s publicity material. Who writes this stuff? Still, the hard-rock quartet shows promise and doesn’t hide its influences, with guitarist Rob Langhans singing alternatively like Robert Plant and Thom Yorke on the “Fourteen” and “Gotta Wanna” sounding like Red Hot Chili Peppers.
514 Hits

Steve Earle - Sidetracks

Aptly named, this album collects outtakes, B-sides and movie soundtrack contributions from the country outlaw’s eclectic back catalogue. Along with instrumental originals like the Celtic “Dominick St.” and the bluegrass “Sara’s Angel,” Earle covers reggae (“Johnny Too Bad”), ’60s rock (“Time Has Come Today,” with Sheryl Crow), Lowell George (“Willin’) and Bob Dylan (“My Back Pages”). But most surprising is his rendition of Nirvana’s corrosive “Breed.” Kurt Cobain with a Texas twang.
538 Hits

Bonnie Raitt - Silver Lining

It took producer Don Was to resusitate Raitt’s career after Warner Brothers unceremoniously dumped the singer-guitarist. But it has taken producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake to bring Bonnie back to the blues.  Like her previous album, Fundamental , this is Raitt at her best:  raw and raunchy, with plenty of blistering bottleneck guitar. “Gnawin’ on It” gets down and dirty, while “Fool’s Game” and “Monkey Business” bristle with unadulterated New Orleans funk. Sexy stuff.
519 Hits

Elvis Costello - When I Was Cruel

While his excursions into lounge, opera and classical were commendable, it’s a relief that Costello is rocking out again with members of the Attractions.  Peppy numbers like “45” and “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution)” have all the reckless charm of his early classics. But it’s quirky songs like the soulful, dub-tinged “Alibi” and the hypnotic title track, which quotes Abba’s “Dancing Queen” and samples ’60s Italian pop that really get under your skin.
498 Hits

Sheryl Crow - C’mon C’mon

Crow has come a long way from her days as a backup singer for Wacko Jacko. The Missouri native has produced some of pop’s finest and most accessible roots-rock over the last decade.  Her latest boasts guest appearances from Lenny Kravitz, Don Henley, Liz Phair and the Dixie Chicks and features such winning tunes as the funky “Steve McQueen,” the beaming “Soak Up the Sun” and the anthemic title track, full of chiming 12-string guitars and Crow in full, Joplin-esque howl.
522 Hits

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Singer-guitarist Jeff Tweedy promised that his band’s new album would make Wilco’s last record seem “obsolete.” Originally scheduled for release last summer, the album certainly represents a departure from the Chicago group’s alt-country classic Being There and its Woody Guthrie collaborations with Billy Bragg.  In fact, songs like the ominous “Radio cure” and the strange “I am trying to break your heart” bear more than a passing resemblance to Radiohead transmissions.
583 Hits

Susanna Baca - Espiritu Vivo

Baca fits in the forefront of world-music divas with Cape Verde’s Cesaria Evora and Brazil’s Virginia Rodriguez.  But where Evora evokes an aching sadness and Rodrigues projects spiritual tranquility, Peru’s Baca conjures up a dreamy mysticism laced with elements of both.  Steeped in Afro-Peruvian rhythms, sensuous songs like “La Noche y el Dia” have a power that belies their gentle delivery.  And when Baca sings Bjork’s “Anchor Song” in Spanish, the effect is truly otherworldly.
498 Hits