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: Joni Mitchell - Lady of the Canyon

Feature Article: Joni Mitchell - Lady of the Canyon
For Joni Mitchell, fame has been a fickle lover. In the 1970s, it lavished her with sold-out tours and numerous magazine covers. She was the poetic, soul-baring artist from Canada who had taken up residence in the hills of California, becoming rock's lady of the canyon. But before the decade was over, Mitchell also felt the sting of rejection. Her jazzier, more abstract albums left many critics mystified. With little or no radio airplay, they sold poorly. Mitchell responded by abandoning the tour circuit. And, despite her three strong albums in the 1980s, her work was still being unfavorably compared with her early successes. "The pop arena is a harsh world, really," says Mitchell. "It moves...
Continue reading
  1634 Hits

The aboriginal beat

It seemed a blues night like any other: a smoky room, beer in abundance and a packed dance floor. But the event last month, sponsored by the Toronto Blues Society, had a unique twist. Titled Real Rez Blues, it was a showcase of U.S. and Canadian aboriginal performers, all with a penchant for the classic, 12-bar form. Five acts appeared before the mostly native crowd of more than 800, including headliner Murray Porter, one of native music's rising stars. A baritone reminiscent of rhythm-and-blues great Percy Sledge, Porter thrilled the audience with his gritty versions of B. B. King and Big Joe Turner tunes. But when he sang his own 1492 Who Found Who, about Christopher Columbus, the Mohawk m...
Continue reading
  1891 Hits

Celtic dreams

Celtic music performer Loreena McKennitt It was a ritual that ended up paying handsome dividends. Every Saturday for three years, Loreena McKennitt would rise before dawn, load her 50-lb. harp into the back of her beat-up Honda Civic and drive 150 km from her rented farmhouse in Stratford, Ont., to the St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto. There, McKennitt would find a spot amid the bustle of shoppers and shouting vendors. Her fiery red hair tumbling down over Elizabethan-style clothing, she sang ancient Celtic songs of mystery and romance to the ethereal strains of her instrument. The musician stopped more than a few passers-by dead in their tracks. And the appreciative ones tossed money...
Continue reading
  810 Hits