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.

Feature Article: Elvis Costello - Elvis Goes North

My editor thinks Elvis Costello’s latest album, North, is a lot like Frank Sinatra’s 1954 classic In the Wee Small Hours. He’s right: both recordings are intimate explorations of emotional loss and the rush of new romance. On top of that, the string-backed piano ballads pack an immediate, visceral punch despite their spare instrumentation. When Costello calls, I mention the comparison. “That’s very flattering,” he says from the back of a limousine speeding along the Autobahn somewhere between Berlin and Hamburg. “Sinatra’s album is a masterpiece.” Then he brings up the Diana Krall factor: “People have made assumptions based on changes in my life that the appearance of quiet sounds,...
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Feature Article: Joni Mitchell - Portrait of an Artist in her Prime

It has been 24 years since Joni Mitchell left Saskatoon and eventually arrived on the coffeehouse circuit in Toronto’s Yorkville district. And although she has returned occasionally from her home in Los Angeles to visit her parents, last week was different. Under the glare of the media spotlight, Mitchell was back in Saskatoon for a triumphant homecoming. And the veteran singer-songwriter chose the Bessborough Hotel—where she often attended high-school dances—to meet the press on the western leg of a publicity tour to promote Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, her best album in years. Donning a school beanie presented by three students at her old school, Aden Bowman Collegiate Institute, the 4...
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Music Feature: Irish balladeers Andy Irvine and Paul Brady

Any traditional music from the British Isles, when played well, can breathe history as if aged in wood. A pair of young Irish folksingers stopped briefly in Toronto to give listeners a taste of the bittersweet ballads and jaunty jigs from another era.Paul Brady and Andy Irvine are former members of Planxty, a now defunct Irish band whose versatile music won them fans all over Europe. As a duo, Brady and Irvine provide all the moods and memories of their homeland, captured in songs of classical splendour.Their performance at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education Auditorium gave the audience tales as strange as the instruments to which they’re sung: “Wearing the Britches,” an admitt...
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