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

Feature Article: Jesse Winchester

Jesse Winchester was born in America, but chose Canada as his home. We were the better for it. A superb musician with a profoundly soulful voice, he gave us a body of work to last a lifetime and beyond. Here are a few of his most memorable songs: Biloxi Twigs and Seeds Yankee Lady Brand New Tennessee Waltz Bowling Green Mississippi You're on My Mind Rhumba Man Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt Talk Memphis That's What Makes You Strong Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding Despite his enormous talent, Jesse Winchester was a deeply humble man. Quiet About It, the tribute album that James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams and others made of his work, was aptly named. Losing a fine songwriter is a lot like los...

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Before the Gold Rush @ Winterfolk

Giving talk + slideshow with rare photos of '60s Yorkville #Winterfolk this Sun. 3-4 @GlobeBistro 124 Danforth Ave. pic.twitter.com/5dw0uKFZhk — Nicholas Jennings (@nicojennings) February 14, 2014    

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Feature Article: Neil Young covers Lightfoot

Neil Young is the latest artist to cover Gordon Lightfoot's 1966 classic "Early Morning Rain." He recorded the song at the Farm Aid concert in Saratoga Springs, NY on September 21, 2013. It's one of Lightfoot fans' most beloved compositions. Lightfoot wrote the song, which includes the memorable line "you can't jump a jet plane, like you can a freight train," based on his memories of living in Los Angeles as a music student and watching "big 707" jetliners taking off from LAX. Now Young is recording "Early Morning Rain" as part of a new album of cover songs for Jack White's Third Man Records and will likely be released by Warner Bros, as well. In December 2013, the Neil Young website Thrashe...

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Nick's Picks: Best of 2013

Arcade Fire Reflektor Inspired by Haitian rhythms and modern disco, Win Butler, Régine Chassange and company ask tough questions that are easy to dance to.     Vampire Weekend Vampires of the City Although they’ve moved away from their delicious African-pop hybrid, the New York smartypants remain relentlessly inventive.     Valerie June Pushin’ Against a Stone Her “organic moonshine roots music,” featuring old-school hymns and stomping blues-rockers, makes for an intoxicating brew.     Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action The Scottish pop-rockers sound as fresh and vital on their engaging fourth album as they did on their first.    ...

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Feature Article: Pokey LaFarge - Live @ Imperial Club, Berlin 26 Nov. 2013

Pokey LaFarge brought his distinctly old-timey brand of what he calls riverboat soul to Berlin’s Imperial Club last night. Making his debut in the German capital with his five-piece band, LaFarge, dressed in a dark suit, fedora and two-tone brogue shoes, introduced Hoagy Carmichael’s “Riverboat Shuffle” by asking the audience the name of the city’s river. “Spree,” shouted the crowd in the peculiar German pronunciation of “schpray.” “Right,” said LaFarge, not attempting to repeat the word himself, much to the locals’ amusement. The dapper bandleader then kicked into a spirited rendition of Carmichael’s tune, with some inspired harmonica and washboard playing from his bearded cowboy sidekick R...

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Feature Article: Adele - Skyfall

While we await Adele's third album, which could conceivably be called 23 (following its predecessors 19 and 21), it's worth revisiting her last recorded release: the theme to the latest James Bond film. When it came out last October, the song was a major hit and became first Bond theme to win at the Golden Globes, the Brit Awards and the Academy Awards. With its over-the-top instrumentation and Adele's soaring vocals, instantly brought to mind the best Bond themes, especially those sung by the iconic Bond theme artist Shirley Bassey. What was disappointing, however, was Adele's video for the song, which she co-wrote with Paul Epworth. The British superstar's video was an unispired film tease...

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Feature Interview: Rufus Wainwright

Rufus has had an eventful summer, celebrating a significant birthday and performing everywhere from the prestigious Teatro Real opera house in Madrid to England’s Glastonbury Festival. The charismatic singer tells us about his favorite current music and his continuing efforts to honor the memory of his late mother, folksinger Kate McGarrigle, with the release of a tribute album, Sing Me the Songs, and a documentary concert. Do you enjoy touring now as much as when you were younger? I’m lucky because I get to play all these gorgeous opera houses, so everything is pardoned and replenished once you get into those beautiful halls. What was it like to play Glastonbury? It was amazing. I was playi...

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Feature Interview: Cassadee Pope

What a difference a win makes. Cassadee Pop took the crown on the third season of The Voice, the first female to do so. Now the Florida native has a debut solo album out, Frame by Frame, on Taylor Swift’s label, Big Machine. A former pop-rock singer with the band Hey Monday, she transitioned to country on The Voice after being mentored by Nashville star Blake Shelton. Cassadee, 24, tells Hello! Canada about her musical shift and how life has changed since her big win. Did Blake push you to sing country? Not at all. I’d sung country as a kid and have always loved it. I had not intention of going country when I went on the show. But Blake encouraged me not to think about what genre I was doing...

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Letter to Globe & Mail re: Sam's sign

                           The Citgo sign near Fenway Park in Boston. The old neon lights that lit up the sign for years (L) have been replaced by much brighter LEDs, the glowing chips found in digital clocks. Officials say the sign will stand up to the tough New England weather. Re: Preservation of iconic signs is admirable, but not at the expense of common sense (Sept. 12) Ryerson knew full well the challenge it faced with the Sam the Record Man sign, but chose not to embrace it. The university's agreement with the city, dated August 15, 2008, stated that it would use "reasonable best efforts to identify an opportunity t...

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Deputation to Community Council - on the Sam the Record Man sign

                                 Deputation to Toronto and East York Community Council – September 10, 2013 Speaking in opposition to TE26.34 (Proposed Amendments to Agreements between Ryerson University and the City of Toronto - Sam the Record Man Signage) Madam Chair and Councilors: My name is Nicholas Jennings. I am a journalist, historian and a graduate of Ryerson. I have spent my entire career writing about music, including books, TV documentaries and, for 20 years, as feature writer and reviewer for Maclean’s magazine. One of my books, Before the Gold Rush, focused on the history of Toronto’s music sce...

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