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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Obituaries, Books

Music Review: Maturing musically

When Bob Dylan first plugged in his guitar and strummed an electrified chord, the guru of 1960s folk music sent shock waves through the ranks of his followers. But Dylan, like his Canadian peers Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, was merely moving with the times. While the rock and jazz directions that Young and Mitchell pursued led them to stardom and an enviable international audience, other Canadian singer-songwriters of that decade stayed home to improve their performing and recording skills. Recent albums by four of those artists —Murray McLauchlan, Ann Mortifee, Mendelson Joe and David Wilcox—demonstrate that it is possible to survive the fickle shifts of pop music with one’s craft intact.S...
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Music Feature: The sonic balm of Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Now that the turmoil of recent times has passed, Joseph Shabalala can look back fondly on those halcyon days nearly 10 years ago when his group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, first joined Paul Simon on tour.The South African vocal ensemble had sung two songs with Simon on his critically acclaimed Graceland album, but those had been in English. And Shabalala wasnt sure how audiences would respond to his group's Zulu material."It was a real culture shockk when we stepped onstage," admitted the modest, soft-spoken singer, during a tour stop outside Chicago. "I was so worried that people would be discouraged by our language."The shock was, of course, they weren't. From the moment audiences ...
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Music Review: Paul Simon - Graceland

Paul Simon’s new album, Graceland, opens with an accordion wheezing erratically, as if trying to catch its breath. Then, a thundering drumbeat and a pulsing bass gradually add a more certain rhythm. By the time Simon begins to sing, the strange music has cast a hypnotic spell. That first song, “The Boy in the Bubble,” is a stirring introduction to the colorful sounds of South African music, a topsy-turvy world where guitars play the role of percussion instruments instead of providing the melody, and voices create rhythmic accents. Simon recorded “Bubble,” like much of Graceland, in both Johannesburg and New York. By melding the traditional, vigorous urban sounds of black South Afri...
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