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.

Feature Article: Riverboat Plaque Presentation

Riverboat Plaque Presentation June 18, 2009   On June 18, Heritage Toronto was joined by some of Canada's most notable musicians to commemorate famed Yorkville coffeehouse, the Riverboat.   Located in the narrow basement of a house at 134 Yorkville Ave, the Riverboat was opened in 1964 by Bernie Fiedler and became the best-known coffeehouse in Canada. Over its history, the Riverboat stage was graced by Canada's music elite, including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. The Riverboat remained open until 1977, by which time it was the sole remaining coffeehouse in the area. A number of musicians who graced The Riverboat's stage during its illustrious life attended the eve...
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Various artists - Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot

A mixed bag, this Lightfoot love-in ranges from refreshing interpretations by Cowboy Junkies (a rocking “The Way I Feel”), Bruce Cockburn (a spooky “Ribbon of Darkness”) and Blackie & the Rodeo Kings (a stirring “Summer Side of Life”) to such weak or dated choices as “Go Go Round” (Blue Rodeo), “Bend in the River” (Harry Manx) and “Black Day in July” (the Tragically Hip). With Aengus Finnan’s paean joining the Guess Who’s early testimonial, at least two tribute songs now exist titled “Lightfoot.” Go Go Gord.
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Ranee Lee - Maple Groove: Songs from the Great Canadian Songbook

Along with k.d. lang’s Hymns from the 49th Parallel and the recent Gordon Lightfoot tribute album, Lee’s latest represents a new trend: singers mining vintage Canadian nuggets for repertoire. Lee casts songs by Randy Bachman, David Clayton-Thomas and others in a jazz setting—with surprising results. While her version of Lightfoot’s folky “If You Could Read My Mind” swings beautifully, her takes on jazzy pop numbers like Bachman’s “Undun” and Clayton-Thomas’ “Spinning Wheel” fall surprisingly flat.
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Foals - Antidotes

Frontman Yannis Philippakis’ previous band was called the Edmund Fitzgerald, but there’s nothing Lightfootish about Foals, a smart-rock outfit from Oxford, England, home of fellow braniacs Radiohead. Like America’s Vampire Weekend, Foals has a taste for African music—check out the rhythmic romance of “Red Sock Pugie” and the closing, anthemic “Tron,” featuring the horns of Afrobeat big band Antibalas. And the infectious “Cassius,” which references the fall of Rome, is guaranteed to dancefloors everywhere. Apr. 8   
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Sam Roberts - Love at the End of the World

The latest from Roberts and his bearded bandmates is chock full of anxious anthems for our edgy times, from the uneasy “Stripmall Religion” and the twitchy “Them Kids” to the apocalyptic “End of the Empire,” with its Hip-like boogie guitar. And “Detroit ’67,” which reflects on the Motor City riots, is Roberts’ response to the Lightfoot classic “Black Day in July.” But hope is never far away from his worldview, as in the stirring title track and the joyous singalong “Lions of the Kalahari,” a shout out to his baby girl.
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