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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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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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, ...
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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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