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.

Valkyrien Allstars - Live in Bergen

The Bergen International Jazz Festival, or Nattjazz as it’s now called, takes place in USF Verftet, a converted sardine factory on the shores of Norway’s beautiful west coast city. There, on Saturday night, I saw the Valkyrien Allstars, an experimental folk rock band and one of Norway's best live acts. Consisting of Tuva Syvertsen on vocals, keyboards and hardanger fiddle, guitarist-fiddler Erik Sollid, bassist Magnus Larsen Jr. and drummer-banjoist Martin Langlie, all exceptional musicians, the group performed to a sold-out crowd with many in the audience, both young and old, singing along. Although steeped in traditional Norwegian folk music, the Allstars are every bit a modern ensemb...

Continue reading
  247 Hits

Jackie Shane: Any Other Way review - The Trailblazing Soul Queen

A fabulous new documentary on Jackie Shane, Any Other Way, unspools at Toronto's Hot Docs Festival on April 27th. It's a brilliant portrait of the late transgendered soul singer, who took Toronto by storm in the 1960s. The film matches extensive recordings of Jackie conversing and singing with recreations of a younger Jackie (played by Makayla Walker) and an older Jackie (Sandra Caldwell). Ingeniously, the production team took live-action footage of the performances and gave them a unique, AI-assisted rotoscope technique that animates them in a vivid, painterly way. The recreations elevate the documentary into a visceral, kinetic experience that really helps to bring Jackie to life. The film...

Continue reading
  366 Hits

Bob Marley: One Love review - Natural Mystic on the Screen

Despite approaching it with some trepidation, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Bob Marley: One Love in the end. Kingsley Ben-Adir, who looks nothing like Marley, seemed awkward in the role at first and his dreadlock wig was not at all convincing. But the English actor seemed to grow into the part as the film progressed, even his dreads became more natural, and he wound up capturing well the spirit, struggle and message of the man.  The filmmakers chose to frame the story between Marley getting shot 1976 and 1978’s One Love Peace Concert, when he brought political enemies Michael Manley and Edward Seaga together onstage. And there are some wonderful flashbacks, including the youn...

Continue reading
  528 Hits

Eleanor Collins - Trailblazing jazz singer overcame racism with quiet dignity

From her birth as a daughter of Black settlers in the early 20th century to recognition as Vancouver’s first lady of jazz, Eleanor Collins was a trailblazer in music and African-Canadian history. Her role in breaking new ground for women and Black performers earned her membership in the Order of Canada in 2014. Then, in 2022, Canada Post featured Ms. Collins on a stamp, honouring her as the first Black Canadian entertainer – and first female Canadian singer – to star in her own nationally broadcast TV series, The Eleanor Show. Acknowledging the honour, Ms. Collins said she had no sense of her pioneering role back then. “We each did what we felt we were called to do – live in the present...

Continue reading
  404 Hits

The Lightfoot Band returns

The legacy of Gordon Lightfoot's music is in good hands, thanks to his longtime backing group of Rick Haynes, Barry Keane, Mike Heffernan and Carter Lancaster. Those veteran musicians are committed to keeping the master's songs alive. Last Saturday (Jan. 27), the Lightfoot Band made its debut at Toronto's El Mocambo with its newest member Andy Mauck on vocals and rhythm guitar. Anyone worried about how the American-born singer might sound delivering those classic songs can rest assured: Mauck, vocally, is a dead ringer for 1970s and '80s-era Lightfoot. Plus, he's humble as hell, repeatedly saying what an honour it was to be asked to join the band and sing the songs of his hero. "Gord was a s...

Continue reading
  532 Hits