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.

Bob Dylan's triumphant return to Massey Hall

A master of reinvention, Bob Dylan is never content to play a song the same way twice. Last night at Massey Hall, the self declared song-and-dance man entertained with interpretations of numbers drawn from his own back pages (with the exception of a Grateful Dead cover and an American Songbook standard) that rendered them virtually unrecognizable. Sometimes this was a thrilling novelty, with a hatted Dylan standing behind a grand piano and belting out a bluesy, saloon-style rendition of “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” like an less frenzied Jerry Lee Lewis. At other times, it was a frustrating mystery. Trying to identify a song by lyric wasn’t always possible because of Dylan’s chronic case of mu...
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Gordon Lightfoot: The Canadian bard wrote the tunes for a nation's identity

More than any other singer-songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot personified Canada. His robust songs about winter nights, morning rain, being bound for Alberta and sailing on Ontario’s Georgian Bay came closest to expressing for many Canadians the essence of life in the Great White North. Historical epics stood alongside romantic ballads. Author Pierre Berton once said that Lightfoot’s “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” conveyed as much about the building of the national railway as his own best-selling book on the subject. When Lightfoot died Monday evening at the age of 84, leaving a vast legacy of more than 500 songs, Canada lost a masterful composer, a distinctive vocalist and one of its ...
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Don Cullen: Bohemian Embassy ‘Ambassador’ Nurtured Talents of Fellow Artists

Creative versatility came naturally to Don Cullen. Writer, actor, comedian, producer and impresario, he could apparently do it all. His talents first surfaced at high school, where Mr. Cullen’s flexible physical features and talent for vocal impersonations made him popular with his classmates. “I became the funny kid,” he once recalled, “by capitalizing on the angularity of my frame and the rubbery quality of my face.”  Mr. Cullen took those attributes onto the stage and across the airwaves, voicing more than 1,500 radio programs and appearing in nearly as many theatrical reviews and television shows. He starred in a production of Beyond the Fringe which was performed more tha...
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Ronnie Hawkins - Last of the Good Ol' Boys

He was such a good ol’ boy, a teller of such tall tales and the master of so many self-deprecating one-liners it was often easy not to take Ronnie Hawkins too seriously. “I’m a legend in my spare time,” he liked to quip. Calling himself the “Geritol Gypsy,” he claimed to have been playing rockabilly “since the Dead Sea was only sick.” But when the veteran singer-bandleader – for whom the “big time” was always “just around the corner” – died on Sunday, the entertainment world mourned the loss of a bona fide legend whose greatest legacy was his mentoring of some of Canada’s finest musical stars. Mr. Hawkins was born in Huntsville, Ark., on Jan. 10, 1935 and studied physical education at the st...
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Leonard Cohen - The return of the modern troubadour

Leonard Cohen, hailed 20 years ago as Canada’s answer to Bob Dylan, had slipped into obscurity. It was the mid-1980s, and audiences seemed more interested in carefree pop music than in the modern-day troubadour’s philosophical, often bleak compositions. Then, Jennifer Warnes came along. The Los Angeles singer had begun performing Montreal-born Cohen’s material in 1969 and, later, toured with him as a backup vocalist. In 1986 she used her lush soprano voice to interpret a selection of his songs. The resulting album, Famous Blue Raincoat, sold more than 750,000 copies worldwide. And while that success brought Warnes major stardom, it has also helped rejuvenate Cohen’s musical career. With...
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