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.

Music Feature: Ian & Sylvia - Their Legend, Legacy and tale of The Lost Tapes

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Most people know Ian and Sylvia by their signature songs—his “Four Strong Winds” and her “You Were On My Mind”—and think of them as the iconic Canadian folk duo of the early 1960s. But few beyond fans or aficionados are familiar with their fine subsequent solo work, or Sylvia’s with the wondrous Quartette. And fewer still are aware that the talented pair once pioneered the country-rock genre with their excellent band Great Speckled Bird. A superb new collection of live recordings should change all that. Produced by Danny Greenspoon, The Lost Tapes (Stony Plain Records) features 26 tracks recorded between 1971 and 1974, a time when Ian was hosting a popular weekly country music TV show (on wh...
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Toronto Songs: Ian Tyson's Marlborough Street Blues

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When Ian Tyson arrived in Toronto in September 1958, the folk music scene didn’t exist. The coffeehouses hadn’t yet appeared in Yorkville. The city’s bohemian district consisted of a few ramshackle cafés and galleries along a tiny stretch of Gerrard Street, near Bay, that attracted colorful personalities and painters like Harold Town. All of that was about to change with the Folk Boom ignited by the Kingston Trio and its massive hit “Tom Dooley.” Tyson had hitchhiked his way East from the West Coast, where he’d graduated from the Vancouver School of Art. He was 25 years old. His life experience at that point largely amounted to riding bareback in rodeos and playing a little guitar in rockabi...
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Feature Article: Cowboy Troubadour - Ian Tyson

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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Music Review: Ian Tyson - Carnero Vaquero

The heart of the Canadian songwriting legend, who gave us classics like “Four Strong Winds” and “Navajo Rug,” lies in the West and its big-sky vistas. Here, he sings of cowboys (“Will James”), ranching (“Colorado Horses”) and tragic romance with his new rendition of the touching “Darcy Farrow,” originally recorded in his Ian & Sylvia days. 
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Liner Notes: Ian & Sylvia – Movin’ On 1967-1968

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Catalysts of the folk boom, Canada’s Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker burst onto the scene in the early 1960s with a unique vocal sound. Sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall. Headline appearances at the Newport and Mariposa festivals. Hit songs like the now-classic “Four Strong Winds” and “You Were On My Mind.” A real singing cowboy and a church organist’s daughter, Ian & Sylvia were one of the hottest acts around. But all of that changed in the mid-1960s when The Beatles and the British Invasion landed on North American shores. The folk boom suddenly went bust and everyone—including Ian’s mentor, a scruffy kid named Bob Dylan—began plugging in. “The Beatles shut us down,” Ian recalled in his ...
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