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.

Tom Waits - Rain Dogs

Los Angeles singer Tom Waits has always viewed his favorite denizens of the night with a charming romanticism. But with Rain Dogs Waits’s derelict characters have taken on gritty, three-dimensional life. On "Cemetery Polka" a sad accordion and rude trombone flesh out his vivid portrait of a wildly eccentric family. And the tinkling, aimless piano in "Tango Till They’re Sore" is well suited to the rambling imagination of the song’s narrator. But Waits is most coherent when he sticks to shattered dreams and tin-can sounds of alleyways. On several songs he uses makeshift percussion instruments to create a kind of hobo’s orchestra. His gift for idioms has always been impressive, but now, with a ...
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Joni Mitchell - Dog Eat Dog

Joni Mitchell’s last album, Wild Things Run Fast, reflected the maturity of a woman who had chased away her romantic demons. Now, Dog Eat Dog, her first release in three years, reveals that the 42-year-old musician has experienced a political awakening. The 10 new songs, which tackle such subjects as corporate greed, African famine and right-wing evangelism, may alienate her loyal listeners. But with its clever pop arrangements and engaging vocals, the album includes some of Mitchell’s most exuberant work in years. On the playfully syncopated title track she decries the “prime-time crime” of “bigwig financiers,” while in "Tax Free" actor Rod Steiger impersonates a raving evangelist who warns...
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From the Vaults: Kate and Anna McGarrigle's historic first recordings

Several years ago, I was contacted by a Montreal man named Peter Weldon who asked if I’d like to hear an unreleased 1969 recording of Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s original folk group, the Mountain City Four, singing the music of Wade Hemsworth with the composer himself. Absolutely, I told Weldon. I’d long loved Hemsworth’s songs and was excited to hear anything unreleased that included the wondrous McGarrigles. The Mountain City Four had begun when Weldon and another musician, Jack Nissenson, recruited the younger McGarrigle sisters to join them in song (I have a personal connection with Nissenson, but more on that later). Soon, the MC4 were packing coffeehouses as stars of Montreal’s burgeoni...
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