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.
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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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Gordon Lightfoot - Just Like a Paperback Novel

I’m driving north up Toronto’s Bayview Avenue on a winter’s night in early January. I turn east on Post Road and into the Bridle Path neighbourhood, an ultra-posh enclave known as “Millionaire’s Row.” I slow down opposite Rapper Drake’s monster palace, complete with indoor basketball court, and turn toward the stately home that belongs to Gordon Lightfoot.Much had transpired since the publication of my book, Lightfoot. For one thing Lightfoot reached the milestone age of 80, celebrating with a benefit concert in his hometown of Orillia. For another, he was in the spotlight for a feature-length documentary that had him discussing his storied career and timeless back catalogue of songs, a...
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Music Feature: Robbie Robertson - Songs of a native son

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

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, Roger...
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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 d...
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