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.

Marcus Roberts Trio - Cole After Midnight

The bonus here: two Coles on one album. Having paid tribute to Ellington on 1998’s In Honor of Duke , the celebrated jazz pianist and his group (bassist Roland Guerin and drummer Jason Marsalis, younger brother of Wynton and Branford) pay homage to the music of Nat King Cole and Cole Porter. It makes for a dandy package, including tasty versions of such beloved chestnuts “Mona Lisa” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
525 Hits

The Beta Band - Hot Shots II

That scene in High Fidelity , where Rob (John Cusak) hooks customers in his Championship Vinyl record shop by playing an album of trippy pop, has done wonders for this cool, unassuming Scottish quartet. On its second full-length disc, the once-obscure band delves deeper into dub, electronica and other dreamy soundscapes. While most of it has a sunny vibe, one tracks cleverly turns Harry Nilsson’s “One” into a nightmarish rap about “virtual reality.” Serious headphone music.
451 Hits

David Usher - Morning Orbit

How to ensure your solo career doesn’t threaten the stability of your band? If you’re David Usher, you co-opt fellow Moist men Mark Makoway and Jeff Pearce to co-produce. Usher also wisely enlists rapper Snow and My Brilliant Beast singer Julia Galios and employs lush strings and operatic voices on the seductive “Black Black Heart.” The album’s best cut, the anthemic “Alone in the Universe,” may even become a bigger hit than Moist’s own singles. What then?
665 Hits

Melissa Etheridge - Skin

Since coming out in 1993, Etheridge’s music has been overshadowed by her lesbian lifestyle. Parenthood with partner Julie Cypher (and children sired by David Crosby) further fuelled a “lesbian chic” trend in the media. Cypher’s now a thing of the past and Etheridge’s latest album deals with heartbreak and hope. But the record is mired in the sort of romantic cliches and pop mediocrity of “I Want to Be in Love,” the album’s first single.
500 Hits

Jimmy Rankin - Song Dog

Following the Rankins’ breakup and John Morris’ tragic death, Jimmy resurfaces with an assured solo debut. Produced by Tim Thorney, who brought in singers Cassandra Vasik and Joel Feeney (Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor and sister Cookie Rankin also lend vocal support), the album places Jimmy squarely in the Canadian singer-songwriter tradition, with music more country than Celtic. In fact, perhaps in deference to John Morris, there’s not even a fiddle to be found.
573 Hits

Thrust - The Chosen Are Few

A former member of Virgin Music Canada’s street team, which had him spreading the news about Canadian urban music, Thrust (a.k.a. Christopher France) is now the latest breakout act from T-dot’s burgeoning hip-hop community. Less overtly sexual than Choclair, Thrust goes in for the sort of spacey, groove-heavy hip hop heard on “The One & Only” and “This is For Sure.” And like Kardinal Offishall, he basks in his Caribbean heritage, bookending his debut album with two delightful “interludes” that are rich in dense Jamaican patois.
712 Hits

Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros - Global a Go Go

On his previous solo outing, 1999’s Rock Art and the X-Ray Style , the punk grandad caught critics off-guard with a surprisingly robust collection of ethnically laced rock. Unlike his Clash-mates, Strummer had graduated to sophisticated relevance without losing his streetwise roots. Here, his Joe-ness proves he’s still got something to say, from the spirited pacifist sing-a-long “Johnny Appleseed” to the roaring internationalist dub of the title track.
463 Hits