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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Country & Lightfoot

Someone once dubbed his singing style “country-and-Lightfoot,” and there’s certainly some truth to it. With his distinctive nasally twang, there’s always been a big streak of country running through Canada’s greatest folk singer and songwriter. Just look at Gordon Lightfoot’s history:In 1959, Lightfoot joined CBC’s Country Hoedown, as part of the cast of the Singing’ Swingin’ Eight. The show’s set was a makeshift barn, complete with wagon wheels and bales of straw. Members of the Singin’ Swingin’ Eight (four men and four women) wore yoked cowboy shirts and gingham crinoline. Can you spot Lightfoot?Lightfoot travelled to Nashville with Chateau Records’ Art Snider in 1962 and recorded his...
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Obituary: Lucille Starr - Queen of Yodels and Yearning Ballads

She was Canada’s consummate country music queen: petite, buxom and with towering hair to match a voice that could scale heartbreaking heights. Beginning in the late 1950s and early ’60s, Lucille Starr was also a trailblazer, singing in both English and her native French while becoming the first Canadian woman to sell one million records and the first to perform at Nashville’s famous Grand Ole Opry.There were many other firsts for the feisty francophone artist, an accomplished yodeller who yodeled Cousin Pearl’s character on TV’s The Beverly Hillbillies. Signed to A&M Records in Los Angeles with Bob Regan, her partner in the Canadian Sweethearts duo, Ms. Starr was simultaneously...
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Music Review: Lori Yates - Breaking Point

Lori Yates' country roots run deep--in Toronto's Queen Street music scene, not Nashville. So when CBS Records signed the singer and flew her down to Music City to record a debut album in 1989, it proved to be a mistake: Can't Stop the Girl not only took the girl our of the country, it also took the country--at least Yates' special brand of it--out of the girl. Five years later, the spirited singer finally gets the introduction she deserves with Breaking Point, a superb collection of rocking country and bluesy pop tunes written and performed with the cream of Queen Street talent. A gritty heartache number like "Make a Liar Out of Me," with backup vocals by Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and guitarist...
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Feature Article: Cowboy Troubadour - Ian Tyson

The auditorium was a sea of cowboy hats in a variety of styles—High Sierra, Ridgetop and Cattleman. The ranchers, cowhands and wives were assembled last month in a convention centre in northern Nevada for a tribute to the 19th-century American western artist Charles Russell. But the first performer to step onstage was not an American--it was Canada’s Ian Tyson. With his white cowboy hat tipped at a rakish angle and a white kerchief tied flamboyantly around his neck, Tyson fit right in. Carrying an acoustic guitar and accompanied by his band, the Chinook Arch Riders, the Albertan told the audience, It’s great to be back in Elko--feels just like home.” And he meant it. It was the fourth year t...
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Feature Article: Homespun and hip - Old-time country sounds

Oh brother, what's going on here? Bluegrass and gospel suddenly seem as hot as hip-hop and electronica. Banjos and mandolins are replacing keyboards and drum machines as the instruments du jour. And sing-along hootenannies are taking over at least a few downtown clubs across the country. Ever since the O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound track started selling by the truckload, old-time country music is everywhere: at summer festivals, on college radio, even at the neighbourhood Starbucks. The trend has nothing to do with Nashville or guys in big hats with names like Garth. It's a musical revolution of a different sort -- out with the new, in with the old. Canadian guitarist Colin Linden, who co...
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