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.

Jackie Shane: Any Other Way review - The Trailblazing Soul Queen

A fabulous new documentary on Jackie Shane, Any Other Way, unspools at Toronto's Hot Docs Festival on April 27th. It's a brilliant portrait of the late transgendered soul singer, who took Toronto by storm in the 1960s. The film matches extensive recordings of Jackie conversing and singing with recreations of a younger Jackie (played by Makayla Walker) and an older Jackie (Sandra Caldwell). Ingeniously, the production team took live-action footage of the performances and gave them a unique, AI-assisted rotoscope technique that animates them in a vivid, painterly way. The recreations elevate the documentary into a visceral, kinetic experience that really helps to bring Jackie to life. The film...
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Uncovering Canadian rock's early years

The story of rock and roll’s arrival in Canada has often been reduced to this: a good ol’ boy from Arkansas named Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins blew into Toronto with his Hawks in 1958 and cast a hypnotic spell on unsuspecting Canadian audiences.  While it’s true that Hawkins did much to popularize rock music north of the 49th parallel, there were other, often unsung pioneers here already laying the groundwork. And that’s the strength of Greig Stewart’s new book Hawkins, Hound Dog, Elvis and Red: How Rock and Roll Invaded Canada. Stewart pays tribute to performers like Bobby Dean (Blackburn) and the Gems, Frank Motley and his Motley Crew, Little Caesar and the Consuls, Les Vogt and t...
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Bobby Dean Blackburn - Deep blues and soulful highs

There are few personal histories as rich as Bobby Dean Blackburn’s. His musical legacy, which runs from the birth of rock ’n’ roll and rhythm & blues in Toronto through to his sons’ Juno-nominated blues band, is as long as Yonge Street itself. Bobby Dean’s ancestral story goes even deeper: his great-grandfather was a U.S. slave who found freedom in Canada on the Underground Railroad. For over half a century, he has paid tribute to that heritage with annual performances at Owen Sound’s Emancipation Festival. Now the veteran musician, who turns 80 later this year, plans to add to his lengthy list of accomplishments. Along with a double album of ballads and gospel songs on the horizon, a fo...
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