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.

Obituary: Mose Scarlett - Keeper of the Flame of Vintage Songs

Mose-11-smaller Photo by Paul Wright
Mose Scarlett specialized in songs from bygone eras – jazz, blues, ragtime and swing – and always dressed the part, neatly turned out in a three-piece suit and fedora or, more informally, a waistcoat and workingman’s flat cap. Within Canadian music, he was an anachronism, a performer cheerfully out of step with the times. But that was also a big part of his charm. Blessed with a deep, resonant singing voice and a self-taught, fingerpicking guitar style often described as stride, Mr. Scarlett was similarly old-fashioned in his personal demeanour. Bruce Cockburn, who met him in 1969 when he and his then future wife, Kitty, stayed at Mr. Scarlett’s apartment in Toronto’s east end, recalls being...
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Obituary: Oddball musical genius Joe Hall

Joe Hall in bathtub - Cordova Bay Archives
Joe Hall possessed one of the most fertile imaginations in Canadian songwriting. His concerts in the 1970s and 80s are the stuff of legend: frenetic displays of eclectic music and absurdist theatre in which he seemed to have narrowly escaped a straitjacket. Although his star dimmed in subsequent decades, the prolific artist never stopped writing songs, recording and performing. When news spread recently that he had died, fans across Canada mourned the loss of a gifted, lovable oddball whose commercial success never matched his unbridled talent. During Mr. Hall’s heyday touring widely with his band the Continental Drift, he often drew comparisons to Frank Zappa for wild performances of songs ...
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Obituary: Composer Galt MacDermot

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The world-renowned composer of Broadway’s hit musical Hair began his musical career in the 1950s as the organist-choirmaster at Montreal’s Westmount Baptist Church. At the time, Galt MacDermot also moonlighted in nightclubs around his hometown—“crashing about on the piano, turning church hymns into jazz,” as one of his relatives, the writer Janet Savage Blachford, once recalled. By 1957, the son of a Canadian diplomat and teacher had composed music for My Fur Lady , Canada’s most successful original musical. MacDermot moved around a lot as a child, but music was a constant preoccupation. Encouraged by his piano-playing father, Terence, Galt began experimenting on the record at age five and b...
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