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

Uncovering Canadian rock's early years

The story of rock and roll’s arrival in Canada has often been reduced to this: a good ol’ boy from Arkansas named Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins blew into Toronto with his Hawks in 1958 and cast a hypnotic spell on unsuspecting Canadian audiences.  While it’s true that Hawkins did much to popularize rock music north of the 49th parallel, there were other, often unsung pioneers here already laying the groundwork. And that’s the strength of Greig Stewart’s new book Hawkins, Hound Dog, Elvis and Red: How Rock and Roll Invaded Canada. Stewart pays tribute to performers like Bobby Dean (Blackburn) and the Gems, Frank Motley and his Motley Crew, Little Caesar and the Consuls, Les Vogt and t...
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Mariposa Folk Festival - 60 years ago

Sixty years ago this week, an estimated 5,000 people flooded into tiny Orillia, Ontario to attend the first Mariposa Folk Festival. Here is an excerpt from Before the Gold Rush about that historic inaugural event: Sitting in neatly arranged rows of canvas chairs, a buttoned-down crowd of 2,000 watched the inaugural Mariposa unfold one August weekend in 1961. The audience, mostly university students from Toronto, had travelled to Orillia on the shores of Lake Couchiching to hear an all-Canadian line-up headed by Sylvia Fricker and Ian Tyson, whoʼd also donated his artistic skills to create the stylized orange sun that dominated the festivalʼs poster. On the opening Friday night, fol...
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JoJo Bennett - Reggae trailblazer

JoJo Bennett was a Jamaican orphan who found his calling when a teacher handed him a horn. Excelling on the trumpet, he grew to become a successful touring musician, songwriter and recording artist. In Canada, he added award-winning bandleader and owner of a recording studio and record label to his accomplishments. But he never forgot his roots, also starting his own music school along the way. Mr. Bennett, who died on Aug. 3 at the age of 81, may have been best known as the charismatic, dreadlocked figure in celebrated Canadian pop-reggae band the Sattalites. But after his passing, those close to him remembered a wise, modest man they affectionately called “Guru” and “Teach.” “Jo was a beau...
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