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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Feature Article: Sarah Harmer - Harmer's Charm

Sarah Harmer is no technical whiz. Sure, like any musician, she knows her way around a recording studio. She has a cellphone and an email-equipped laptop computer, which she tries to use to correspond with family and friends. Her record distributor even gave her a digital voice recorder for Christmas, which Harmer took on a Mexican vacation in the hope of capturing song ideas. Unfortunately, she left it switched on and the batteries were dead before she could figure out how to use it. Then, when Harmer returned to Canada, her old Ford Econoline van, which she’d left parked at her parents’ farm outside of Burlington, Ont., wouldn’t start. Alone in the farmyard, she was more than a little frus...
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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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