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.

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Toronto Songs: Neil Young's Ambulance Blues

Four-to-Go Neil Young (left) with Four to Go's Ken Koblum and Geordie McDonald
Neil Young returned to the city of his birth in 1965, determined to break into Toronto’s flourishing music scene. He’d arrived with his Winnipeg group, the Squires, but their new folk-rock sound fell on deaf ears. Even changing their name to Four to Go failed to make a difference. So Young parted ways with his bandmates and launched himself as a solo folksinger. Before leaving Winnipeg, Young had become enamored of Bob Dylan’s music and taught himself to play “Four Strong Winds,” Ian Tyson’s Canada-referencing response to “Blowin’ in the Wind.” He’d also encountered Joni Mitchell, who was performing at the Fourth Dimension coffeehouse with her husband. After the show, Young went up to Joni, ...
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Headstones cover Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

Headstones
Few artists have seen their songs covered more than Gordon Lightfoot. But usually, it's the legendary singer-songwriter's tales of love and loss, of broken hearts and promises, that get reinterpreted. Rarely are his story songs offered a new spin by other performers. Now Canada's veteran punk-hard rock band Headstones have served up a feisty take on Lightfoot's famous shipwreck song. Over a driving beat and slashing guitars, Headstones frontman Hugh Dillon delivers an edgy account of the harrowing night that the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank on "the big lake they call Gitchie Gumee." The video of the song shows Dillon alone on a frozen lake and later the band performing on a barren windswept l...
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Toronto Songs: Murray McLauchlan's Down By the Henry Moore

Murray-in-Yorkville Photo by Bart Schoales
 Murray McLauchlan moved downtown and never looked back. Armed with a guitar and a backpack, he ran away from home at the age of 17 and headed straight to Yorkville. He wound up crashing at the Village Corner coffeehouse, sleeping on a mattress in the basement and soaking up the sounds of guitarists like Amos Garrett and Jim McCarthy and folksingers including Al Cromwell and Elyse Weinberg. The Village Corner had been the place where artists like Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, David Wiffen and Bonnie Dobson all got their start. The son of a trade unionist, McLauchlan developed an artistic flair while attending Central Technical School, where he took classes from renowned Canadian p...
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