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The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.
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Obituary: Roy Orbison - Rock ’n’ roll romantic

He sang songs steeped in melancholy with a voice that could hit the sweetest heights. As a member of the first generation of rock-and-rollers, he was a loner, a shy teetotaller who, despite his tough-looking, dark attire and ever-present sunglasses, preferred wrenching ballads to the rugged side of rock. And when he died last week from a heart attack at 52, Roy Orbison touched off a new wave of emotion from a diverse range of musicians and fans. At the peak of his career in the 1960s, Orbison had 27 consecutive records on the charts, including “Only the Lonely” and “Oh Pretty Woman.” Recently, he returned to the charts by collaborating with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Tom Petty in the gro...
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Music Feature: Chimes of Freedom - Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! tour

Even in the Live-Aid era of pop music, when star-studded concerts for good causes have become a fixture on the rock ’n’ roll calendar, it was a landmark event. Amnesty International brought its Human Rights Now! show to Toronto last week, with an eight-hour concert featuring six of pop’s leading artists, kicking off the North American leg of the most ambitious world tour in rock history. The six-week tour, which began in London on Sept. 2, was to touch down in Montreal last Saturday before continuing to scheduled concerts this week in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco.While pop musicians in the 1980s have increasingly adopted social concerns and appeared in concerts aroun...
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Music Review: k.d. lang - Ingénue

For fans who have always known that a serious singer lurked beneath k. d. lang's tongue-in-cheek country exterior, Ingénue is thrilling confirmation. Gone are the hoedown humor and country-punk affectations that characterized--and sometimes marred--her earlier style. A moody collection of ballads, Ingénue is steeped in the torch tradition of such singers as Julie London and Patsy Cline in her pop period. And the songs, written mostly by lang and fiddler Ben Mink, reveal a surprising vulnerability. On “The Mind of Love,” a tale of tortured romance, lang asks herself, "where is your head Kathryn/where is your head." And on “Save Me,” a shimmering ballad, her voice washes over the listener like...
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Feature Article: k.d. lang - Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee

She arrived like a chinook in the dead of winter. When k.d. lang first blew out of Alberta in the mid-1980s, her look, personality and voice seemed to be exactly what everyone was hankering for: theatricality, irreverence and authenticity. There was mischief in her subversion of Nashville stereotypes, but there was no mistaking her true love of country music—nor her pure, unvarnished vocal talent.Having conquered country, lang did the same thing with pop music, establishing a 30-year career that has earned the highest accolades and awards. “Her voice is pretty flawless,” notes fellow Albertan Jann Arden. “She can sing anything and it’s always heartfelt, emotive and believable.”Other vocalist...
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Feature Article: Juno Awards - Rock, the Canadian way

It's Juno week again. And once more, those vying for awards in Canadian music's biggest lovefest run the gamut from artistic to plastic-from the always compelling Leonard Cohen to the prefabricated pop quartet Sugar Jones.The Junos, Canada's answer to the Grammys, have always been rife with eccentricities, as Cohen noted in 1993 while accepting an award. "It's only in a country like this," mused the man with the infamous monotone, "that I could get Male Vocalist of the Year."Cohen's competition that year included Neil Young, who is also not known for his dulcet tones. Young won the award two years later. After that, the category name was changed to Best Male Artist to prevent more bad jokes....
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