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.

Len - We Be Who We Be

Len endeared themselves to millions with “Steal This Sunshine” and their sense of humour. Here, Toronto’s poppy hip-hoppers, led by Marc Costanzo and his sister Sharon, continue the trend. “Don’t f--- with us,” they declare, “because we drink too much”—a theme that also runs through songs like “Funnel” and “Boozehounds.” But the most imaginative offerings are the summer-themed “Bobby,” featuring reggae DJ Whitey Don, and “Kookoo Ducks,” a piece of lunacy possibly inspired by Lewis Carroll.
530 Hits

Etta James and the Roots Band - Let’s Roll

Miss Peaches has been singing not-so-coy come-ons ever since 1955’s “Roll with Me Henry.” But the stage is where her sexually suggestive act really shines. And on this live recording, the elderly artist proves she could still teach even Carole Pope how to get down and dirty. Apart from an unwise cover of “Born to Be Wild,” the legendary singer (born Jamesetta Hawkins) sticks to r&b favourites like “Come to Mama” and “Rock Me Baby.” And the album-closing ballad, “Sugar on the Floor,” is stunning.
616 Hits

Ron Sexsmith - Cobblestone Runway

Like Rufus Wainwright, Ron Sexsmith seems to be an acquired taste despite his undeniable talent. How else to explain the singer-songwriter’s lack of a breakthrough? People (like Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney) love him, while others (who cite his “whiny” voice) loathe him. This album will do nothing for Sexsmith’s dissenters. But songs like the soulful “These Days” and the tender “God Loves Everyone” will thrill fans. And the hopeful “Gold in Them Hills” is a gem that deserves to be a hit.
541 Hits

Rhett Miller - The Instigator

It’s hard to believe how cheerful Rhett Miller sounds, considering he survived both Texas alt-country weepers the Old 97s and 9/11, having escaped his Manhattan loft just minutes before the second World Trade tower disintegrated. But on his solo debut, produced by Jon Brion (Aimee Mann), Miller hits high on the happymeter, delivering enough sunny pieces of power pop to make Matthew Sweet or even Emmitt Rhodes jealous. Standout tracks include “Our Love,” “This is What I Do” and “Four-Eyed Girl.”
525 Hits

The Boomers - Midway

The Boomers have carved out a market for themselves with pithy, mid-tempo rock for the over-40 set. Ian Thomas, who may be even funnier than his brother Dave Thomas, of SCTV fame, has a knack for writing honest, humorous views of midlife. And this cleverly titled album contains some of his best, including the oh-so-bittersweet “Life Goes On.” But the best is “I Don’t Feel Particularly Old.” “When I look in the mirror,” he deadpans, “Keith Richards looks back at me.” Geritol for adult contemporary listeners.
500 Hits

Beck - Sea Change

He’s been called a smart-aleck surrealist drunk on hip-hop. And after Midnite Vultures, it looked like pop’s slacker savant had become a funky daddy with a super-charged sex drive. But maybe Beck really just wants to be a singer-songwriter. While his latest album still scavenges pop’s landscape, it’s mostly a revisionist folk record that owes more to moody artists like Tim or Jeff Buckley than Moby or the Beastie Boys. But what results: “Lost Cause” and “Guess I’m Doing Fine” are simply superb, mellifluous songs.
505 Hits

Elizabeth Cook - Hey Y’All

Here’s a concept: a Nashville country artist who sings real songs with real emotion. Although she’s from Ocala, Florida, Elizabeth Cook has been embraced by Music City, becoming a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and landing a big-time record deal. This is progress. Cook can belt out sexually charged honky tonkers like “Demon” or croon classic weepers like “Don’t Bother Me.” And her only cover is a dramatic, Roy Orbison-style arrangement of Jessi Colter’s “I’m Not Lisa.”  The real McCoy.
582 Hits