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: Dan Hill - Coming Full Circle

He’s one of Canada’s most successful songwriters, an artist whose songs have topped the country and pop music charts around the world. As a composer, Dan Hill has been hugely prolific, writing hits like his own iconic “Sometimes When We Touch” as well as numerous chart-toppers for such performers as Céline Dion, Britney Spears, Michael Bolton, George Benson and Sammy Kershaw. But when Hill’s father died in 2003, the songwriting well suddenly ran dry. So he turned his attention to writing a confessional autobiography about life with his demanding dad, Daniel Grafton Hill III, a larger-than-life figure who has been called Canada’s father of human rights. The resulting book, I Am My Father’s So...

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Loreena McKennitt - Celtic dreams

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 her way. But then, McKennitt hit a gold ...

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Feature Article: Guess Who's Reborn?

One of Canada's most successful bands is enjoying a new vogue -- and hitting the road once again  On an early May afternoon, on the eastern outskirts of Winnipeg, a spring ritual is under way. Like bears emerging from hibernation, some grey-haired men step out to play their first round of golf of the year. Teeing off under a warm sun, the golfers are oblivious to another ritual taking place nearby. Inside the Transcona Country Club, members of the Canadian rock legend the Guess Who are running through the familiar chords of such classic songs as Undun and American Woman. The original lineup of the group -- middle-aged and reunited for the first time in 17 years for a national tour that ...

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Feature Article: Barenaked Ladies - Barenaked in America

The Ladies' luck has changed. While Canada's Barenaked Ladies have fizzled at home in the past few years, their career has exploded south of the border. Last week, with the release of the pop band's latest album, Stunt, the five musicians performed on ABC-TV's Good Morning America before an estimated 3.8 million viewers. Later that same Monday, the Ladies flew to Boston where they gave a free, half-hour concert for 80,000 people-double the number local officials were expecting-in front of city hall, followed by a four-hour autograph session. On Tuesday, they delivered more tunes and signatures to fans at a Detroit music store. Then it was on to Chicago, where the band did it all over again a...

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No More Class Clowns

Maclean's  August 22nd 1994 Barenaked Ladies - No more class clowns In a run-down warehouse in Toronto's west end, a film production company has spent the day trying to create a wet look for Jane, the latest video by the Barenaked Ladies. A giant screen provides a blue backdrop, and a machine spewing out clouds of smoke creates a murky underwater effect. Several large reflectors, meanwhile, give the impression of sunlight flickering beneath the water's surface. Ironically, a sudden downpour outside is making everything inside wetter than planned: rain is pouring through holes in the building's roof, forcing crew members to quickly cover equipment. Still, the filming proceeds, and each o...

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Feature Article: The New Romantics - Ron Sexsmith and Rufus Wainwright

They are the sensitive boys of Canadian pop. Both are acclaimed singer-songwriters, and both are unabashedly emotional. One is gay, with an impeccable musical pedigree, while the other, a father of two, has some of rock's biggest stars singing his praises. And -- surprise, surprise -- both are closest to their mothers. They may not seem like groundbreakers, but Rufus Wainwright and Ron Sexsmith are creating a seismic shift in pop music, bringing tender songs from a male point of view back into the mainstream. Until recently, solo artists were almost all women. While record labels scrambled to find the next Fiona Apple or Joan Osborne, male singer-songwriters couldn't get a break. The reverse...

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Feature Article: Matthew Good Band - Rocking Good News

There are at least two personas in the package known as Matthew Good. One is raging rock star, the cocky, charismatic frontman of one of Canada's brightest new bands. The other is unassuming product of the suburbs, a daydreamer from Coquitlam, B.C., who grew up street smart yet literate -- and mad about soccer, which he played throughout his youth. Although he's now 29, with a career that has him and his group crisscrossing the country and, soon, jetting around the globe, Good has never lost touch with his roots. Beautiful Midnight, his group's current, top-selling (nearly 200,000 copies) album, is filled with songs steeped in childhood and teenage memories and even includes a chant by the c...

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Feature Article: The Tea Party - Tea for Tens of Thousands

It's a spectacular setting, even by Australia's breathtaking standards. Nestled in the Great Dividing Range, an hour's drive north of Sydney, lies Glenworth Valley. With its cloud-covered mountaintops, spring-fed creeks and lush, unspoiled woods and pastures, it resembles an impossibly idyllic scene from the movie Jurassic Park. More surreal was the sight of a rock festival there in late December. The two-day event, featuring more than 40 bands on five stages, proved a real success for the promoters and the 5,000 in attendance. Even an afternoon downpour on the second day failed to dampen spirits, as mud-splattered dancers moved to blues, techno and an Aussie brand of thrashing country music...

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Alanis Morissette: Adventures of Alanis in wonderland

She is the newest cover girl for "alternative" rock, a populist answer to Courtney Love. Fans and critics throughout North America have embraced Ottawa native Alanis Morissette as rock's second coming--and this year's best coming-of-age story. Some observers are still scratching their heads over the transformation of the former bubblegum-pop princess into the queen of ultra-hip music. But for the sold-out crowd that packed Toronto's Warehouse club last week, there was no such bewilderment. The more than 2,000 fans cheered on Morissette's every move--every melodramatic toss of her luxurious mane--and seemed to know the words to every song. When she snarled her way through "You Oughta Know," h...

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Feature Article: Shania Twain - Country Princess

It is the August holiday weekend, but there is no rest for Shania Twain. New country music's hottest new sensation is busy paying her dues to the industry that has helped to make her one of its fastest-rising stars. Under the glare of spotlights, Twain finishes a day-long photo shoot in a Toronto studio, posing for a series of portraits to be used on billboards, bus shelters and posters. She had spent most of the day before at Canada's Wonderland, a theme park north of Toronto, co-hosting a music festival sponsored by a country radio station. There, fans hooted and hollered for her to perform her current hit, Any Man of Mine--without the benefit of a backing band. She complied, and it turned...

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