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.

Obituary: Elyse Weinberg - Yorkville's Forgotten Folkie

She was one of Yorkville’s forgotten female folkies, a contemporary of Joni Mitchell and a friend of Neil Young who left Toronto in 1968 for the hills above Los Angeles. For a while, Elyse Weinberg was a Lady of the Canyon herself, with an acclaimed debut album and a rose-tinted future. Newsweek magazine even compared her to Ms. Mitchell, Melanie and Laura Nyro. But disillusionment with the music business eventually caused the husky-voiced singer to drop out, move to the rural northwest and change her name.In 2000 Ms. Weinberg, then living as Cori Bishop in Ashland, Ore., received an out-of-the-blue phone call: a young musician had found her mystical self-titled debut in a thrift s...
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Feature Article: Joni Mitchell - Portrait of an Artist in her Prime

It has been 24 years since Joni Mitchell left Saskatoon and eventually arrived on the coffeehouse circuit in Toronto’s Yorkville district. And although she has returned occasionally from her home in Los Angeles to visit her parents, last week was different. Under the glare of the media spotlight, Mitchell was back in Saskatoon for a triumphant homecoming. And the veteran singer-songwriter chose the Bessborough Hotel—where she often attended high-school dances—to meet the press on the western leg of a publicity tour to promote Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, her best album in years. Donning a school beanie presented by three students at her old school, Aden Bowman Collegiate Institute, the 4...
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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, a...
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Music Review: Rolling Thunder Revue - A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorcese

There's plenty to love about Martin Scorcese's new Netflix documentary about Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour. There are some illuminating present-day interviews with cast members including the masked ringleader Dylan himself, although he claims to barely remember anything about the tour, as he wasn't "even born yet."The story itself is one of rock's great dramas. Rolling Thunder was an entirely different way of touring. It began with the idea of Dylan, his buddy Bobby Neuwirth and mentor Ramblin’ Jack Elliott playing small venues while traveling around in a station wagon. When that proved impractical, it grew into a larger, illustrious cast of characters that included Joan Baez, Roger...
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Music Review: Joni Mitchell - Taming the Tiger

A return to her jazzier side, Taming the Tiger finds Joni Mitchell, now 54, happy but hardly complacent. Featuring saxophonist Wayne Shorter (Weather Report) and drummer Brian Blade (Joshua Redman), the album includes sensuous, romantic numbers like “Love Puts On a New Face,” with its swirling keyboards and Mitchell’s pastel-shaded chords, and “The Crazy Cries of Love,” about a late-night tryst on a train bridge that she wrote with her boyfriend, Saskatoon songwriter Don Freed. But other songs, such as “Lead Balloon” and “No Apologies,” attack some of Mitchell’s favorite targets: corrupt lawyers and twofaced record executives. On the acerbic title track, she sings: “I’m a runaway from the re...
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