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.

Liner Notes: Murray McLauchlan - The Songbook...New Arrivals

The world has become crowded with crooners and divas, all climbing over each other to cover compositions from the American songbook. It’s well traveled ground: the same handful of songs by Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and others has long been the staple of iconic singers such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Yes, classic numbers like Porter’s “Night and Day” and Arlen’s “Stormy Weather” have stood the test of time and numerous interpretations. But where are the new songs for the current wave of jazz singers and pop vocalists? Nowhere to be found. With this collection, Murray McLauchlan has helped to fill that void. After an illustrious career as an award-winning folk and country artist, po...

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Liner Notes: True North at 50

Everything has to start somewhere. For True North Records and Bruce Cockburn, the beginning can be traced to April 7, 1970. On that spring day in Toronto, a remarkably mild and sunny one, by all accounts, True North was auspiciously born with the release of Cockburn’s first solo album. The reviews for the record were universally ecstatic. One newspaper said it deserved “nothing but praise,” while another called the album “quite simply the best thing to happen in Canadian music since Joni Mitchell.” It was the start of a long and fruitful partnership between label and artist. Over the next 50 years, True North would issue another 33 albums by the acclaimed singer-songwriter (along with hundre...

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Liner Notes: Various artists - All Canadian Jazz

Canadian jazz has come a long way from the day that Oscar Peterson made his auspicious debut at New York's Carnegie Hall. The young Montreal pianist, sharing a bill with Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, "stopped the concert dead cold in its tracks," according to down beat magazine, displaying "a flashy right hand, a load of bop and a good sense of harmonic development." Peterson soared to fame virtually overnight, followed a short time later by Montreal trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. For the longest while, they were the only jazz stars from Canada. And, with a distinct lack of domestic gigs, they worked almost exclusively in the United States. Joining Peterson an...

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Liner Notes: Various artists - All Canadian Classic Pop

Canadian pop has clearly come of age. Gone are the days when Canadian musicians had to leave the country to achieve success. Today, our finest, homegrown artists stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world, and their records regularly top the international charts. In the 1970s and '80s, Quebec produced several homegrown stars with exceptional voices. Gino Vannelli, a robust singer with a dynamic stage presence, won an ardent following--especially among women. Two other Montreal vocalists scored major breakthroughs: Luba, with her lush, gospel-inflected style, and Corey Hart, with his defiant stance and infamous pout. The late '70s and early '80s saw the rise of Canrock, a genre of ...

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Liner Notes: Bruce Cockburn - Rumours of Glory box set

In his illuminating memoir, also called Rumours of Glory, Bruce Cockburn writes: “My songs are influenced by what I read, where I travel and what I witness.” He adds: They’re not just about spirituality or “war, injustice and exploitation,” but “derive from life itself.” If life is his inspiration, then Cockburn’s has certainly been rich, judging by the 130 songs in this box set. Written over nearly 50 years, with the earliest recording being 1966’s “Bird Without Wings,” they range from spiritual quests and romantic ballads to prickly protests and engaging travelogues drawn from first-hand experiences on five continents. Together, they form an enlightening audio companion to the memoir. It’s...

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Liner Notes: Gordon Lightfoot - Harmony

It’s not surprising that Gordon Lightfoot’s latest album—the 20th of a long and illustrious career—is also his most reflective. After all, Lightfoot has looked death squarely in the eye, having fought his way back from an abdominal hemorrhage in September 2002 that very nearly killed him. Nothing like a brush with the Grim Reaper to put things in perspective. The songs gathered here revisit many of the themes familiar to fans of Lightfoot’s best work: travel, nature, loneliness and love in all of its many forms. The eerie “Flying Blind” places a northern pilot in peril as he tries to land amid oil rigs, ice caps and polar bears. The stirring “River of Light” conjures up bucolic visions of mi...

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Liner Notes: Sattalites - The Best of Canadian Reggae

Rare is the band that survives the challenges of constant touring, recording and inevitable membership changes. Rarer still is the group that keeps improving, consistently honing its craft and polishing its sound. The Sattalites have achieved that remarkable feat over the course of 30 years, establishing themselves along the way as one of the world's premier reggae acts. Built on the foundational talents of Jo Jo Bennett and Fergus Hambleton, the Sattalites have forged a fresh, vital sound that blends stirring roots reggae with thrilling harmonic pop. This collection represents all sides of the Sattalite sound, from the bubbling joy of "Wild" to the horn-driven ride of "Sunroof." Two can mak...

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Liner Notes: Kensington Market - Avenue Road

The Summer of Love gave the world the Monterey Pop Festival and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. Ultimately, those precious months in 1967 produced something far greater: the full flowering of the hippie movement and a sense of cultural, social and political barricades coming down. Change was in the air. The seeds were sown at the Human Be-In in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and quickly spread to most major cities in the western world. In Toronto, the May Love-In at Queen’s Park attracted a crowd of barefooted flower children who danced to Buffy Sainte-Marie and Leonard Cohen under a thick cloud of marijuana smoke. That same month, three musicians from Yorkville, Toronto’s hippie village, gather...

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Liner Notes: Gryphon Trio with Patricia O'Callaghan-Broken Hearts & Madmen

Gryphon Trio-Broken Hearts & MadmenThe most adventurous sounds are those that defy restrictive labels and easy categorization. Eclecticism has long been a mainstay of the jazz and pop worlds, where experimentation is encouraged and celebrated. But chamber music, with its roots in specific classical repertoire, has often been limited by advocates intent on simply keeping old traditions alive. Canada’s Gryphon Trio, one of North America’s top chamber ensembles, is committed to changing that.

Formed in 1993, the Trio—cellist Roman Borys, pianist Jamie Parker and violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon—began pushing the boundaries for chamber music by commissioning and performing new works from both established and emerging composers. Its multimedia production of Christos Hatzis’s Constantinople, took the Gryphons deep into cross-cultural terrain. Set at the crossroads of East and West, Constantinople brought the Trio together with Arabic singer Maryem Hassan Tollar and soprano Patricia O’Callaghan in acclaimed performances across North America and at London’s Royal Opera

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Liner Notes: Ian & Sylvia – Movin’ On 1967-1968

Catalysts of the folk boom, Canada’s Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker burst onto the scene in the early 1960s with a unique vocal sound. Sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall. Headline appearances at the Newport and Mariposa festivals. Hit songs like the now-classic “Four Strong Winds” and “You Were On My Mind.” A real singing cowboy and a church organist’s daughter, Ian & Sylvia were one of the hottest acts around. But all of that changed in the mid-1960s when The Beatles and the British Invasion landed on North American shores. The folk boom suddenly went bust and everyone—including Ian’s mentor, a scruffy kid named Bob Dylan—began plugging in. “The Beatles shut us down,” Ian recalled in his ...

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