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.

Music Feature: Robbie Robertson - Songs of a native son

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Stepping off a Greyhound bus from Toronto in 1961, a 17-year-old boy found himself in West Helena, Ark., by the banks of the Mississippi River, unable to believe his senses. “It smelled different and moved different,” Robbie Robertson recently recalled. “The people talked and dressed different. And the air was filled with thick and funky music.” The experience left an indelible impression on the budding guitarist and songwriter. Years later, Robertson drew on it to write some of rock’s most evocative songs—including “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” And he performed them with his group, The Band, which critic Greil Marcus has called “the best rock ’n’ roll band...
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Music Review: Rolling Thunder Revue - A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorcese

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There's plenty to love about Martin Scorcese's new Netflix documentary about Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour. There are some illuminating present-day interviews with cast members including the masked ringleader Dylan himself, although he claims to barely remember anything about the tour, as he wasn't "even born yet." The story itself is one of rock's great dramas. Rolling Thunder was an entirely different way of touring. It began with the idea of Dylan, his buddy Bobby Neuwirth and mentor Ramblin’ Jack Elliott playing small venues while traveling around in a station wagon. When that proved impractical, it grew into a larger, illustrious cast of characters that included Joan Baez, Roge...
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Toronto Songs: Gordon Lightfoot's On Yonge Street

Toronto Songs: Gordon Lightfoot's On Yonge Street
Gordon Lightfoot got his start on Yonge Street, not in Yorkville. Although the bard of Canadian song is often associated with Yorkville’s Riverboat coffeehouse, where he first became a star while performing weeklong stints in the mid-1960s, his first real home as a solo artist was Steele’s Tavern, at 349 Yonge. A two-storey operation run by Greek restaurateur Steele Basil, Steele’s was sandwiched between Yonge Street’s famously competitive record stores: Sam’s and A&A’s. There, in the upstairs Venetian Lounge, Lightfoot performed his songs for anyone who would listen, often competing with the clink of beer glasses and televised hockey games for people’s attention. Lightfoot had traveled ...
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Music Review: The Neville Brothers - Yellow Moon

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Steeped in voodoo lore, New Orleans has a reputation for casting a spell on visitors. Known to its residents as “the Big Easy,” the city has a tropical climate and a French and Spanish colonial history that give it an atmosphere unique in North America. Tourists are charmed by its annual Mardi Gras festivities and its world-famous Cajun cuisine. But for many people, music provides the city’s most potent magic. Although it has long been associated with such traditional styles as Dixieland, New Orleans also produced some of the liveliest rhythm and blues of the 1950s. Later, its musicians provided rock ‘n’ roll with exotic flavorings. Now, the city is experiencing a musical boom that extends f...
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Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night

              He’s unrivalled as a songwriter, but often derided as a singer—which makes this album so curious: the legend lending his craggy pipes to songs associated with Frank Sinatra, one of the greatest vocalists ever. Yet the results are surprisingly affecting, especially on his moving renditions of “What’ll I Do” and “Full Moon and Empty Arms.”
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