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.

Music Review: Rufus Wainwright - Take All of My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets

Music Review: Rufus Wainwright - Take All of My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets
Grandiosity comes naturally to Rufus. The acclaimed singer-songwriter has an unabashed love of dramatic music. In 2007, he recreated Judy Garland’s legendary 1961 Carnegie Hall concert. His most recent album is a recording of his own opera Prima Donna . Now Rufus has embraced his love of Shakespeare, something he’s explored a little before. Actors Carrie Fisher, William Shatner and Helena Bonham Carter recite sonnets, while members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra back Rufus and his assortment of guest vocalists. Rufus and Austrian coloratura soprano Anna Prohaska offer male and female takes on “A Woman’s Face,” and his sister Martha Wainwright joins him on “Unperfect Actor.” Rufus even dips in...
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Movie Review: Purple Rain

Movie Review: Purple Rain
PURPLE RAIN  Directed by Albert Magnoli.   Purple Rain  resembles its provocative singing star, Prince: it delights in breaking rules and raising eyebrows. While such anarchic behavior is the root of rock music, it is rare in rock films. They usually offer a safe and predictable storyline that is little more than background to the soundtrack. But  Purple Rain  cleverly integrates its sultry electronic funk music with a story of unexpected depth and emotion. It receives great support from Prince himself, the 24-year-old pop sensation from Minneapolis who, in his first, largely autobiographical film, vividly translates his charismatic stage personality to the screen. P...
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Music Review: Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain

Music Review: Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain
Prince is one of pop's true originals. His credo of eroticism and his nervy, androgynous pose have made the 24-year-old Minneapolis native a constroversial figure. Radio stations often ban his sexually explicit songs from airplay, but his music is an ingenious blend of keyboard funk and guitar rock.  Purple Rain  is a kaleidoscope of pulsating sounds and velvety textures. It opens with the cheerful chaos of "Let's Go Crazy," in which Prince preaches hedonism in the face of impending apocalypse. "Darling Nikki," about a steamy encounter with a nymphomanic, features a wailing guitar, and "The Beautiful Ones" is a breezy, romantic song sung in a sensual falsetto. Prince excels on "Whe...
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Music Review: Yoko Ono - Yes, I'm a Witch Too

Music Review: Yoko Ono - Yes, I'm a Witch Too
Yoko Ono has long been misunderstood. Blamed for the Beatles’ breakup and criticized for her influence over husband John Lennon, she has never been accepted outside of avant-garde circles. That may be changing. Last year, New York’s Museum of Modern Art mounted an extensive exhibition of her paintings, drawings, sculptures, films and music. Now everyone from Sonic Youth to Lady Gaga is calling the controversial 83-year-old an influence. A new album of collaborations sees contemporary musicians reinterpreting her music. Alt-rockers Death Cab for Cutie provide new synth backing to Yoko’s “Forgive Me My Love,” while Sweden’s pop-rock trio Peter, Bjorn & John offer dramatic accompaniment to ...
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Music Review: Bonnie Raitt - Dig in Deep

Music Review: Bonnie Raitt - Dig in Deep
The flame-haired star, part of rock’s sisterhood with Linda Ronstadt and Maria Muldaur, is a formidable slide guitarist. As a young performer on the Boston coffeehouse circuit in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Raitt met blues greats like Sippie Wallace, Son House and Muddy Waters and immersed herself in the tradition. Soon, she was winning acclaim for her own bottleneck style. Born and raised a Quaker, she has always mixed activism with her music, campaigning against nuclear energy with No Nukes concerts and co-founding the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which works to improve royalties, financial conditions, and recognition for R&B pioneers. Her recorded history is exceptional, ...
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Music Review: Tami Neilson - Dynamite!

Music Review: Tami Neilson - Dynamite!
Dynamite is right. With a voice that channels Pasty Cline and Peggy Lee in equal measure, this Canadian torch singer has exploded since emigrating to New Zealand, where she’s become a country music star. From the plaintive twang of “Cry Over You” to the defiant sass of “Walk (Back To Your Arms),” her talent is on full display.
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Music Review: David Bowie - Blackstar

Music Review: David Bowie - Blackstar
Rock’s most famous chameleon has changed personas countless times during his career, from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke. With each mask comes a new sound. For his 25 th album, Blackstar  (stylized as a symbol), the icon threw out the rulebook. His longtime producer, Tony Visconti, says the goal was to avoid rock ’n’ roll and create a new fusion sound. Released to coincide with the singer-actor’s 69 th birthday, the seven-song album includes the unsettling title track, a shape-shifting, apocalyptic torch song that runs nearly 10 minutes, and “Lazarus,” the horn-drenched title number from Bowie's current off-Broadway musical, based on  The Man Who Fell to Earth (he starred in...
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