Gordon Lightfoot News
Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind - Documentary film!
Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind DVD: This is the DVD of the documentary, "Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind," released on August 25th. Region 1 NTSC (North Americn format).
This is an excellent 1 1/2 hour documentary that shows the highlights of Gordon's career, with many video clips from the past and engaging contemporaneous interview segments. Highly recommended! US purchasers can order the DVD from my store here or by clicking on the image of the cover.
Also available for streaming from Amazon Prime Video to buy or rent immediately for US customers only (for free with Amazon Prime with this link). For some unknown reason, the DVD is not currently available on Amazon.com, but it is available at Amazon Canada and Amazon UK. See links below.
Buy from Amazon Canada
Buy from Amazon UK
Minor Leg Injury Causes Postponement of Most Concerts in the 2nd half of 2019
(July 22, 2019) - The shows on July 20th, 21st and 22nd have been postponed due to a leg injury (Gord) and - based on a news story today (7/22) - it appears that all the July dates are similarly postponed. Lightfoot expects to resume touring in September. You can read the news story here.
In the end, most 2019 concerts scheduled for the 2nd half of 2019 were postponed into 2020. Lightfoot resumed touring in February 2020, but then Covid-19 happened ...
Gordon Stops in & Sings a Song at 2019 Mariposa Folk Festival
(July 9, 2019) - Gordon stopped in at the 2019 Mariposa Folk Festival on Saturday, and sang one song. Watch this 57 second clip from that performance. He looks and sounds great! Which I could have been there.
Review: "Lightfoot" by Nicholas Jennings
September 19, 2017 — There's no reason to keep you in suspense; the new biography "Lightfoot," by Nicholas Jennings, about the life and career of singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot is nothing short of fantastic. Given Jennings' credentials, that is exactly what I expected.
Described as "the definitive, full-access story of the life and songs of Canada's legendary troubadour," the book is all that and more. Nicholas Jennings is uniquely qualified to write an authoritative biography of Lightfoot. He is a well-respected music historian, who has already written the definitive book on Canadian music in the 1960s when Lightfoot came on the scene. That book, "Before the Gold Rush — Flashbacks to the Dawn of the Canadian Sound" (out of print) was was the basis for the documentary, "Shakin' All Over: Canadian Pop Music in the 1960s," on DVD now out of print for the second time (read DVD description here). In addition, Jennings wrote a biography of Lightfoot for the 1999 box set Songbook, and wrote liner notes or reviews for other albums. He already knew his subject very well and had his confidence, so a full biography was the logical next step.
The book was released by Penguin Random House in hardcover format on Tuesday, September 26th; the hardcover version is now out of print. New copies are still available but are expensive. The paperback version was released on October 30th, 2018 and is still in print.
Additional Amazon links:
Buy Kindle version at Amazon.com Buy Audiobook version at Amazon.com (Check for Audible trial) Buy paperback at Amazon.ca Buy paperback at Amazon.co.uk.
The author concentrates on the singer/songwriter's music career, as he should, but he doesn't shy away from filling in many of the blanks in the published accounts of the personal life of this highly private man. His childhood, marriages, other romances, battle with alcohol, and health issues were all covered in considerable detail, as were his entry into music, the development of his career, the people who supported him through the years, the accolades, giving back, and just about everything that figured in the story of his life. Like most of us, Lightfoot isn't proud of everything he has done throughout his life. He freely admits today that he made some serious mistakes, but he certainly isn't alone in doing that.
Jennings covers Lightfoot's life from childhood to the present; the sensitive topics are handled professionally and thoughtfully, but nobody will say that he tiptoed around certain topics, nor that he missed something important to the story of this great singer/songwriter and Canadian icon. Already a chronicler of Canadian music going back to the 1960s, the author knew going in what details he needed to learn to weave a complete tapestry. In addition, he had already reviewed several Lightfoot albums, and written a short bio for the Songbook box set, so I had no doubt that he would write the long version equally well.
Read the full review.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher.
Review © 2017 by Valerie Magee
CTV Interview of Lightfoot May 2019
Highlights: Stopped smoking & new album!
The film they are talking about is Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, a CBC Docs original. It was released theatrically in Canada and shown on CBC and the documentary Channel (also in Canada) starting in late 2019. Release in the US was delayed until the summer of 2020 due to Covid-19. It is now available for streaming in the US and Canada (free options are available), and there is a DVD which I sell from my store at this site. Additional information is on my Gordon Lightfoot DVDs page.
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"The Lost Tapes," New Ian & Sylvia Live Recordings
July 24, 2019 — "The Lost Tapes," from Ian Tyson & Sylvia Tyson, is a live album recorded in the early 70s with a studio audience and made from tapes that Sylvia just discovered early this year. This 2 disk collection will feature thirteen classics including Steve Gillette & Tom Campbell's "Darcy Farrow", and thirteen songs never before included on any Ian & Sylvia album. The collection is due September 6th. You can preorder
"The Lost Tapes" from Amazon now.
Biography of Ian & Sylvia, "Four Strong Winds" available
February 13,2012 — In the Fall of 2011, McClelland & Stewart published the first biography of the Canandian duo of Ian & Sylvia; previously, there had been biographies of Ian Tyson, including his autobiography, but this was the first time that a book was written about the pair and it was written with their full cooperation. I had first heard about the book from David Rea who was interviewed at length for it, and mentioned his phone calls with the author on multiple occasions.
I expected the book,
"Four Strong Winds Ian & Sylvia by John Einarson with Ian Tyson & Sylvia Tyson" (Amazon.com link), to be an enjoyable read for me because I am interested in the musical history of the period (1960s/early 1970s), because I love their music (I discovered them because of Lightfoot's gratitude and respect for them), and because I knew that there would be a lot about my late friend David Rea, and surely something about Lightfoot. I wasn't disappointed.
Additional Amazon links: Amazon.com (Kindle) link, Amazon.ca link and Amazon.co.uk link.
Imagine my delight when I read the first few pages which talked about Ian & Sylvia's debut headlining appearance at Town Hall in NYC, extolling its acoustics and importance. It has long been one of my favorite venues; not only have I seen Lightfoot there (read review here), but I performed there as a child ballerina, and they were a client of mine for many years, so there is a lot of personal connection. In his introduction focusing on that Town Hall appearance, Einarson went on to say that Ian & Sylvia debuted three cover songs at that concert: two by Lightfoot (Early Mornin' Rain and For Lovin' Me), and one by my friend Steve Gillette (Darcy Farrow). Ian & Sylvia were the first to record those songs, and those recordings opened many doors for their songwriters. All three songs were on Ian & Sylvia's upcoming album, Early Morning Rain (1965), to be released that May, and which also included Tyson's, "Red Velvet," a song that Lightfoot would record many years later for his album, A Painter Passing Through (1998).
Four Strong Winds - Review
The book is very much the story of the duo, but with enough on their lives earlier (and as children), and after they broke up (musically and personally, although the musical connection actually outlasted the personal) to put the duo's biography in context. I learned a lot about them that I didn't know, as my knowledge was limited to their early recordings, and the time that David was with them (and most of that from David).
I had first learned about them because I followed Lightfoot, and I bought their CD with the two Lightfoot covers, Early Morning Rain, to hear their version. I later bought Northern Journey because it had Ian's recording of the traditional tune, Nova Scotia Farewell*, a song that Lightfoot played live in the 60s, and then on and off through the decades most recently in 1995. Lightfoot credited Tyson as an influence and friend, so I decided I would learn more about him. This biography, rich with stories and anecdotes from that period, went a long way toward filling in the musical blanks.
Read the full review.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher.
*Nova Scotia Farewell remains a fan favorite - of both Ian Tyson fans and Gordon Lightfoot fans. In this biography, Ian says that he hates it, and Lightfoot hasn't performed it in more than 16 years!
2012 Documentary Uses Lightfoot Recording
Thanks to singer/songwriter Rebecca Miner, I am now aware that a Lightfoot recording - but not an original song - was used in the 2012 documentary about the environmental movement. A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet is an acclaimed Sundance documentary, and on a topic which Gord cares about, so the use of the song is very pleasant indeed.
And the song is by another songwriter who I knew. It's Hamilton Camp's "Pride of Man." The song is played in its entirety over the final credits!
I always loved that version of the song, and only heard Hamilton's version many years later. As I have said elsewhere, Gord is faithful to the feeling and folk style of the original, but Gord's is perhaps even more chilling than Hamilton's. Both really great, however.
The documentary is available on DVD: A Fierce Green Fire (DVD) and on instant video: A Fierce Green Fire (instant video) (both Amazon.com).
Rebecca contacted me through the Hamilton Camp's website, to find out the publisher of the song, so she can get a license it for her next CD. As far as I know, the only other covers are by Gene Clark and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Hamilton recorded it twice himself; the second recording is on his last CD, "Sweet Joy", released in 2005, shortly after his death. The first was on "Paths of Victory," sadly out of print.
Audiophile Vinyl Adventures After 2014 Record Store Day (Reviews)
May 29, 2014 —
When the new audiophile 180 gram "Sundown" was announced earlier this year, I knew I wanted to hear it. There was just one problem: I don't have an audiophile system. In fact, I have no system at all (we listen to CDs and digital recordings through our TV, or on headphones). My son has the only working record player in the family, and he is 1800 miles away.
I thought about who I knew who might have an audiophile system, or know someone who does. I was lucky that a good friend just happens to know the owner of an independent record store, and he not only agreed to help out; he invited me to his home to listen with him.
To make the experience even better, I had my son send me my sealed copy of the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs recording of "Sundown", released in 1979. I had the album back then, but I had purchased a sealed copy for my collection. The opportunity to listen to different versions of the same album on high-end equipment was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and a suitable situation for unsealing the album.
So, on the appointed day, two weeks after Record Store Day, my husband and I went off to visit, with the 2014 Record Store Day "Sundown," The 1979 MFSL "Sundown", the 2013 Record Store Day, "Sit Down Young Stranger" (which is the "If You Could Read My Mind" album under its original title), and the new album by Neil Young, "A Letter Home," which has two Lightfoot covers, and was recorded in a 1947 "record booth" (a lot like photo booths you find at state fairs and amusement parks), yet manufactured on 180 gram vinyl!
Read the full review.
I received a copy of the RSD "Sundown" from the record label, Warner Canada; I bought the other recordings with my own money - and have no regrets.
Gordon Lightfoot Video Interview
February 12, 2014 — Here's a nice new video interview with Gord, at the Zoomer site: Conversations With Denise — Gordon Lightfoot.
A new, wonderful live cover of "Early Morning Rain" by Two Folk Music Legends
April 27, 2014 —
This is a live video from a recent benefit concert for Don and Victoria Armstrong. I haven't met Don and Victoria personally, but there's a lovely album by them in the Fool's Hill Music store here. Below are Don's comments. I suppose it won't go unnoticed that this is a Lightfoot cover by members of two of the greatest folk bands in history!
Posted on Facebook by Don Armstrong : "Our pals Gaylan Taylor of the Limeliters & Bill Zorn of The Kingston Trio performing "Early Morning Rain" at the Fiddler's Dream Tribute to Don & Victoria Armstrong on April 19, 2014. My Mom would have loved this as much as I did."
Fantastic version, isn't it?
Neil Young Releases "Old Technology" Vinyl Album of Covers, called "A Letter Home"
April 19, 2014, updated April 26 —
On April 18th, Neil Young quietly released his promised "covers" album, without any fanfare. It's a vinyl release, using very old technology (see more below), and featuring 11 cover tunes, two of which are by Gordon Lightfoot. Neil has been performing both songs — "Early Mornin' Rain" and "If You Could Read My Mind" — in his live shows starting last Fall.
In addition to the two Lightfoot tunes, there are two by Willie Nelson, and one each by Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Bert Jansch, Tim Hardin, Ivory Joe Hunter, Bruce Springsteen and The Everly Brothers.
The record was recorded in the Third Man Record Booth; here's a video demonstrating it: Third Man Record Booth
The record appears to be sold out, but the CD, MP3 album and box set are available from Amazon: the LP (appears to be sold out), the format it was designed for, the CD, an MP3 album, or the Limited Edition Box Set with vinyl, CD, DVD and digital versions included. This album is also available from Amazon Canada (vinyl, search at Amazon Canada to other formats) and Amazon UK (vinyl, search at Amazon UK to other formats).
Just remember: it was recorded in a "record booth" - and it sounds just like a bad record. But it is charming, and makes one wish that Neil would record these songs in a 2014 recording studio and release that too. I have the LP, and am happy to have it, but I really enjoy Neil's versions of these wonderful songs, and would like to hear him do them using today's technology.
Neil Young Dips Into Gordon Lightfoot's Catalogue Again
March 30, 2014/Last updated June 1, 2014 —
Once again, fellow Canadian icon Neil Young has taken a page from Lightfoot's songbook, performing "If You Could Read My Mind", at recent shows. Many of you will remember that last Fall, Young performed "Early Morning Rain", at a Farm Aid show in Saratoga Springs (see next story). Here's a video of Neil performing "If You Could Read My Mind", on April 22, 2014:
Last last summer, Lightfoot replaced Young as the headliner at two festivals after Young was forced to cancel due to an injury suffered by his lead guitar player. Both musicians are icons in Canada, and clearly share mutual respect.
Neil Young Performs Early Mornin' Rain at Farm Aid 2013 in Saratoga Springs
September 22, 2013 —
Last night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Farm Aid show, Neil Young tipped his hat to Gordon Lightfoot with a solo performance of the bard's Early Mornin' Rain. My son sent me a text message, "EMR second song after Blowin' In The Wind" (I wonder how many 20-somethings there knew the songwriters of both of those songs, or who would abbreviate the Lightfoot song as EMR?).
For Lightfoot fans who have followed the story, Neil's lead guitarist in Crazy Horse suffered a hand injury over the summer, and Neil cancelled a number of performances including those at two big festivals in Ontario. Lightfoot was asked to step in, and did so, and Neil expressed his appreciation to Lightfoot personally. Last night, Neil performed some songs with a few musicians, but not his full band, and he did some songs solo, including Early Mornin' Rain: just Neil, his guitar and harmonica (tempted to say, "harp", but I'm not sure all readers would know that jargon).
Unfortunately, I am back in Colorado so I couldn't enjoy it in person, but I am so pleased that my son decided to take in the show. Here's a video of the performance on You Tube:
Gordon Lightfoot Added to Line-up of Two Ontario Festivals
August 27, 2013 —
Gordon Lightfoot has kindly agreed to step into the headlining role at two Ontario festivals, after Neil Young had to cancel due to his guitarist's hand injury. As a result, festival attendees will get to see another of Canada's great music legends.
The concerts are the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic in Dundas, ON on Saturday, August 31st, and the Ottawa Folk Festival in Ottawa, ON on Sunday, Septmember 8th. Links to event details and ticket purchase sites can be found in the tour schedule.
Neil has called Gordon to thank him for stepping in to help.
Gordon Lightfoot To Perform At The Canadian Football League Grey Cup Halftime Show Sunday, November 25th
November 24, 2012 — Gordon Lightfoot will be one of the featured performers at the halftime of the Grey Cup. It will be telecast live on TSN and RDS in Canada, and NBC Sports Network in the United States, and available to SiriusXM subscribers on Sirius channel 157 and XM channel 160.
Yes, folks, that's right! If you have satellite or most cable services, you will be able to watch this on TV in the US! The game starts at 6PM EST. As reported here, Lightfoot will perform an abbreviated version of Canadian Railroad Trilogy (see more above, in the Massey Hall story). Note to DirecTV subscribers: Don't panic when you don't see NBC Sports Network in its usual slot on 603; it has moved recently to 220. Yes, I panicked.
You can read the CFL's article on the scheduled entertainment here.
Eric Clapton releases 1977 recording of Looking At The Rain
November 21, 2012 — Music legend Eric Clapton has included a 1977 recording of Gordon Lightfoot's Looking At The Rain on his 35th Anniversary Edition re-release of his most popular album, Slowhand. Looking At the Rain is one of four previously unreleased tracks on the new album, and it is the first single.
The song was recorded early in the Slowhand sessions, on May 6, 1977. What a treasure in the vault! It is faithful to the Lightfoot version in general style and mood, and the vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Lightfoot too. I am thrilled that Clapton chose to release this cover now, and hope it does well on the charts. The Lightfoot recording, on his 1972 album Don Quixote, was not released as a single.
It goes without saying that Clapton is one of the most highly regarded artists of his generation, as well as one of the top rated guitar players. The fact that he chose a Lightfoot song to record speaks volumes. The song is available for purchase here (MP3 at Amazon.com), but a Clapton CD is probably a good investment. The "Deluxe Edition" CD with the Lightfoot song can be ordered from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk. Both the "Deluxe" and "Super Deluxe" editions include the Lightfoot song.
Gordon Lightfoot Interviewed by Kate Lochte of WKMS 91.3 FM, Murray, KY
September 28, 2012 — Kate Lochte, Station Manager at WKMS 91.3 FM, Murray, KY, interviewed Lightfoot early this month for broadcast on the aptly named "Sounds Good", about a week before his September 27th concert in Paduca, KY. Kate got a wonderful interview, during which Lightfoot talked about his music, some of the stories behind it, and his children. (And no, I am not Galen's mother).
To listen to this interview now, sign-up for my mailing list, even if you are already on it; the MP3 link will be in the email acknowledgment message you will get today (and you will still be on the mailing list only once). The interview was made available on the station website, with the pre-concert story Meet Singer/Songwriter Gordon Lightfoot on Sounds Good.
Gordon Lightfoot on US Radio on September 1st
August 30, 2012 — While he is interviewed on Canadian radio and TV with some regularly these days, it is rare to hear a Lightfoot interview broadcast in the US. This interview was broadcast live Saturday, September 1st from 4 to 5pm EDT at www.wondradio.com from "The Steel Pier", itself rich with music history.
This show, on the air for decades, is broadcast from Atlantic City, NJ. Locally, the interview was broadcast on WOND 1400 AM.
September 1, 2012 — To download an MP3 of the interview, sign-up for my mailing list, even if you are already on it; the MP3 link will be in the email acknowledgment message you will get today (and you will still be on the mailing list only once).
John Stockfish, Gordon Lightfoot's First Bass Player, Passes Away August 20th
September 1, 2012 — John Stockfish, Lightfoot's original bass player, passed away on August 20th. He was 69. His death was due to natural causes.
Stockfish joined Lightfoot in 1965 and toured with him and guitarist Red Shea through the late 1960s in what was known as "the Lightfoot trio". The pure acoustic sound of that trio still endures today on three of the four United Artist studio albums, The Way I Feel, Did She Mention My Name and Back Here On Earth, available on the 2 CD set United Artists Collection.
John, along with Red Shea and Lightfoot were memorialized forever in the tribute song Lightfoot, written and recorded by "The Guess Who".
Although he left the band in early 1969, he remained in contact with Lightfoot and recorded with him on occasion after that including on the 1974 hit Sundown.
During his career, he worked with other performers including Dan Hill, Tommy Hunter, Cab Calloway, and Mel Tormé, and as a music publisher in Nashville.A private family funeral was held on August 31st in Mississauga, Ontario.
Fairport Convention new box set
Includes 10 newly released tracks featuring David Rea
including his song, "Maverick Child"
See the 10 songs from
The Manor Sessions
David Rea, "First" Lead Guitar Player for Lightfoot, Passes Away
Photo by Jack Bawden ©2010
January 24, 2012 — A tribute concert for David Rea was held Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 6 pm at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR. It was a free event, attended by friends, family, other musicians and fans. (Read more)
October 29, 2011 — This is very difficult for me to write because I knew David; in fact, I developed a web site for him and it was only when I called him back in June to say that I was ready to launch, that I learned he had just been hospitalized. He had been ill throughout the summer, and passed away on Thursday, October 27th, the day after his 65th birthday.
From lead guitar player for Gordon Lightfoot, Ian & Sylvia, Joni Mitchell and others, to a singer/songwriter in his own right, David had had a long and rich career in music. He even had a hit song, having co-written Mississippi Queen, a hit for Mountain. Joni Mitchell literally sang his praises; she wrote and recorded a song about him called, "Play Little David".
David played lead guitar on Lightfoot's debut album, "Lightfoot!"; everyone recognizes his distinctive intro riff to For Lovin' Me (heard also at the end of this clip). He played some live shows with Lightfoot in the early years (1964/1965), before Lightfoot could afford fulltime sidemen - and he entertained me repeatedly with his funny stories about those days.
Gord would call him up and ask him if he could come do a gig with him, sometimes with no money for expenses, and they would crash on somebody's couch. David told me funny anecdotes that relate to those occasional shows that he did with Gord. Unfortunately, although I asked him about that time (and David remembered only anecdotes and actually couldn't say when he last played with Gord but thought it was probably 1965, as I had guessed), I didn't write anything down thinking that I would do a formal interview with David about Gord at some point in the future.
When Lightfoot! was finally released in 1966, and Gord was in a position to hire his first "band", David had already taken a full time job with Ian & Sylvia. In an interview with Richie Unterberger for the liner notes to the Ian & Sylvia Lovin' Sound/Full Circle reissue, Sylvia jokes,"'I don't know if Gordon's ever forgiven us for that."
Though I never met him in person, I feel that I knew him well; a phone call with him would go on for hours. Literally. He was a storyteller in his soul, and all his friends and fans benefited from that.
Check out his last album, X7 (Times Seven), released in 2000 (click on album name or see right). My favorite song on it is his wonderful cover of Ian Tyson's The Gift; David really made it his own (there's a clip on the X7 web page). And, please visit his new web site which I launched in his honor shortly after his death: David Rea Music.
Terry Clements, Lead Guitar Player for Gordon Lightfoot for Four Decades, Passes Away
February 21, 2011, updated April 17th — Terry Clements, lead guitar player for Gordon Lightfoot for four decades, passed away on February 20th.
Clements suffered a stroke 10 days earlier, and had been in a coma. A special memorial service was held on April 10th in Toronto, attended by family, friends, bandmates, musician friends and fans. Ed Ringwald, aka Peewee Charles, recorded Amazing Grace especially for the memorial, a song which was a favorite to play for Terry and his family. If you'd like to hear Peewee's recording playing the dobro, with his good friend Shane Guse on fiddle, click here (mp3 file).
Lightfoot's first tour segment - starting March 15th - went on as scheduled, with a new lead player.
Read the full article here: Terry Clements, Gordon Lightfoot's Lead Guitar Player, Passes Away.
Gordon Lightfoot: Canadian Railroad Trilogy: Children's Book released in the US, Canada and the UK
August 2, 2010 — A new hardcover children's book, featuring the lyrics of the epic Canadian Railroad Trilogy, and illustrations by renowned writer/artist Ian Wallace, has been released in the US, Canada, and the UK.
The new book is a true work of art from start to finish, and pays appropriate tribute to one of the most brilliant songs ever written. With stunning pastels each carefully conceived to illustrate a small section of the song, the book will be a treasured addition to the library of anyone with a love of art, music or history.Read my complete review here: Canadian Railroad Trilogy Children's Book.
The book is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and, for those of you across the pond, from Amazon.co.uk.
Lightfoot places 3 singles in top 20 in new book
Goose Lane has just published a new book by Bob Mercereau, The Top 100 Canadian Singles. Lightfoot placed three songs in the top 20: If You Could Read My Mind at #7, The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald at #15, and Sundown at #19. That's a pretty good representation of his hit songs.
The top 20 songs are:
- American Woman/No Sugar Tonight, The Guess Who
- Heart of Gold, Neil Young
- The Weight, The Band
- Summer of '69, Bryan Adams
- Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen
- Born to be Wild, Steppenwolf
- If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot
- Takin' Care of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
- Four Strong Winds, Ian & Sylvia
- Snowbird, Anne Murray
- Big Yellow Taxi / Woodstock, Joni Mitchell
- Tom Sawyer, Rush
- Try, Blue Rodeo
- New Orleans is Sinking, Tragically Hip
- The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Gordon Lightfoot
- Suzanne, Leonard Cohen
- Life is a Highway, Tom Cochrane
- These Eyes, The Guess Who
- Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot
- Underwhelmed, Sloan
Mercereau is also the author of the book, The Top 100 Canadian Albums, reviewed here previously. I will say a lot more about the book once I receive my copy. It can be ordered now from both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.
Toby Keith Covers Sundown!
Tune Is One of Four Covers on Deluxe Edition of his Upcoming CD, Bullets In The Gun
Toby Keith preceded his current American Ride Tour with an unexpected club show in New York City, and he's releasing his new album, Bullets In The Gun, in a Deluxe Edition which will add four live tracks from that show to the standard album.
Recorded during his "Incognito Bandito" show at The Fillmore in Manhattan, the four songs feature Keith on lead vocals backed by an A-list band of session players assembled exclusively for the rare club performance. The four covers are Johnny Paycheck's "11 Months And 29 Days," Waylon Jennings' "I've Been A Long Time Leaving (But I'll Be A Long Time Gone)," Roger Miller's "Chug-A-Lug" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown". In a recent interview, Keith says of Sundown,
"We went to a rehearsal, and everybody kind of brought their favourite songs in and that Gordon Lightfoot song was on the list and I said, 'Absolutely, let's do that.' I put it on there 'cause it is a great song." - Canadian newspaper exclusive with QMI Agency
Bullets in the Gun was released on October 5th. Here's a recording of a live performance; listen and see what you think of Toby's version of this song. Be sure to note the lead guitar solos!
Again, to buy the CD at Amazon, click here: Bullets in the Gun.
If you want to buy the Toby Keith recording of Sundown as an MP3, use the link here.
Forgive me if I get carried away here, but I consider this very exciting news. Toby Keith is one of the top country singers and top entertainers around, and the fact that he has chosen a Lightfoot song (and not a bad choice for a country tune, I might add), just might get that song on the charts again as a cover tune. Even if it isn't released as a single, it will surely introduce many new listeners to Lightfoot music.
The Cottars Cover Gordon Lightfoot Song on Latest CD, Feast
"Apart from the Pain, It's a Pleasure"
October 5, 2010 — About 6 months ago I received a review copy of a CD that has - quite honestly - blown me away. I asked for it because it included a Lightfoot cover, but as always I listened to the entire CD several times. And then I listened several more times. And then I found that I couldn't stop listening to it!
The CD is The Cottar's latest album, Feast (Amazon.com link, Amazon.ca link, , Amazon.co.uk link). The Cottars are a young quartet, actually in a 2nd configuration. Two of the performers, brother and sister, Ciaràn (vocals, piano, guitar, more) and Fiona MacGillivray (vocals, piano, more), were on the previous Cottars album; two are new on this album, Claire Pettit (vocals, fiddle, viola) and Bruce Timmins (vocals, guitars), a well-respected session player. But there is nothing "beginner-like" about this CD. Their music is a blend of Celtic, Cape Breton (where they are from), bluegrass and folk. The musicianship is nothing short of extraordinary; the vocals beautiful; the songwriting on their original tunes accomplished as well.
The Lightfoot cover that first caught my attention is of one of his less known tunes; a song called "Your Love's Return (Song for Stephen Foster)". It is, as the parenthetical portion of the title says, a tribute to Foster, in whose music Lightfoot had become interested at the time. It's a sentimental love song, very Foster-like.
The Cottars took this tune, with Fiona singing the lead vocals (not changing any lyrics which were written for a man to sing), added their own string arrangement and harmonies, and created something all their own yet faithful and respectful of the Lightfoot original. I am certain that Lightfoot is pleased with their cover, as he must be with the much more mainstream Toby Keith cover of "Sundown" (discussed elsewhere). Ciaràn is quoted in the liner notes as saying that the Lightfoot song just might be his favorite on the CD, and that is high praise as the disc is full of wonderful songs.
This article is excerpted from the full review here: The Cottars - Feast Review.
(I received a review copy of this CD from the artists).
An Interesting "Affair" (on 8th Avenue)
June 21, 2010 — Big News for the Dedicated Fan: The Gord's Gold version of Affair on 8th Avenue, never before available except on vinyl, is finally officially available in digital form. It is remastered and can be downloaded as an MP3 from Amazon or CD Universe. (If you buy from CD Universe, be sure to click on the "Buy MP3" button, or the "Buy MP3 Album" button when you buy; do not click on song names or you will be taken to a page with the earlier recordings!).
Remember, the CD of Gord's Gold does not include Affair on 8th Avenue because at the time the album was first reissued on CD, the time limit was 74 minutes including gaps and the album was just over that.
The Gord's Gold version of the song is in the more elaborate 1970s style of all the re-recorded songs on that album. Most Lightfoot fans prefer the re-recording (not true of all the songs, but it is of this one), and have missed having it all these year, making do with vinyl-to-digital copies they made themselves or found online. The new MP3, available on the official Gord's Gold digital album, is the first high quality, remastered version of this lovely recording.
Amazon Faux Pas:
Amazon was the first to offer the new MP3 album for sale, but they had more than a half dozen incorrect tracks, using an earlier version of many of the songs thate were re-recorded (that is, they used a United Artists version, from the 1960s, either the original recording or the live cut from Sunday Concert). I reported the problem to them (with great difficulty, I might add), and their eventual response was to pull the album entirely - clearly easier than fixing their files. Thankfully, the new song and the entire album remained downloadable from CD Universe during the months that Amazon did not have it available (it is now available from Amazon again). You can read the details of the Amazon fiasco here.
"... there's always the possibility of making a new album"
February 27, 2010 — A week after a reporting fiasco erroneously declared Gordon Lightfoot dead, Spartanburg Herald-Journal reporter Todd Money contributed a fine interview, conducted shortly before the death report hoax.
Almost buried in the interview is a paragraph that suggests that - contrary to what Lightfoot has said in interviews for the past 18 months or so - another original album is not out of the question!
Hope springs eternal, and the news does make this Lightfoot fan hopeful. Read more: Interview: At 71 Gordon Lightfoot Is Touring, Making More Music.
Lightfoot Death Hoax fueled by CanWest reporter on Twitter
February 19, 2010 — Lightfoot was big news yesterday when a news alert by CanWest was Tweeted by one of its reporters, and then picked up and posted by several large Canadian newspapers. It turns out that the original news alert was based on a hoax perpetrated on fellow performer Ronnie Hawkins who truly believed that Lightfoot had died based on a message from someone purporting to be Lightfoot's grandson. Luckily, the man himself heard the news report on the radio, and quickly set the record straight, but it was a wild ride for about an hour yesterday afternoon.
|On Tour July 2009, Lincoln, RI|
Photo © 2009 Michael Borkson
Billboard Chart Beat
May 21, 2009 -
'Eminem charts a fifth song from "Relapse," set to debut atop next week's Billboard 200, as "Beautiful" opens at No. 17 on the Hot 100. Of the five tracks, only "We Made You" launched higher (No. 9). The new song is the fifth by that title to appear on the Hot 100 in its 50-year history. The previous artists to make "Beautiful" music and their peaks: Gordon Lightfoot (No. 58, 1972), Christina Aguilera (No. 2, 2003), Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell & Uncle Charlie Wilson (No. 6, 2003) and Akon featuring Colby O'Donis & Kardinal Offishall (No. 19, 2009) ...' Billboard.com story, emphasis mine.
The question is, which one of the other four will still be played and downloaded 37 years later? And, parenthetically, it's hard to believe that nobody charted a song named Beautiful for 31 years after Lightfoot's! Guess the bar was too high.
Click on the note below to buy the song from Amazon.
Gordon Lightfoot Beautiful (Lyrics)
A DVD from Alison Krauss features a Lightfoot song!
Available @ Amazon
November 6,2008; updated January 29, 2013 - To me this is big news! Alison Krauss is one of the most gifted and popular performers out there, with music crossing genre lines. I was introduced to her by other Lightfoot fans, who are always a good source of suggestions for other good music. Alison is best known for bluegrass music, but has made successful forays into other genres; her talent is that good.
She has a wonderful DVD which was released on November 11, 2008, called A Hundred Miles Or More: Live From The Tracking Room.
The DVD has performances taped for a TV show, and these performances include duets with Brad Paisley, James Taylor, and John Waite, and performances with great musicians including her longtime band Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas (whose members are individually well known musicians), and with Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan and others.
The name that caught my eye immediately was Tony Rice. He is a bluegrass guitar player extraordinaire, and himself recorded an entire album of Lightfoot songs with which many of you are familiar. Tony no longer sings, but he still plays, and he recently did a series of shows with Alison and her band.
I was unable to attend any of those shows (there were only a few of them), but on this DVD Alison has included a couple of performances with Tony Rice including a wonderful cover of Lightfoot's "Shadows". (Tony recorded the song himself years ago. You can find that recording, and many other Lightfoot covers, on Tony Rice Sings Gordon Lightfoot).
You won't read anywhere that "Shadows" is a Lightfoot song, but of course I guessed it immediately because Tony Rice was on the track, and Amazon had the "Shadows" video as the preview on the DVD web page, so I could take a look. There is no preview today, but there is a video available on YouTube that includes two short interviews that are worth watching too. I think this is the video that is on the DVD, but I am not 100% certain. It will at least give you a taste, and I am certain you will be impressed.
I can't say enough about Alison's music, and that of all the musicians she works with, but I can promise that if you buy this DVD you won't put it in a pile of videos you never watch!
The DVD also includes interview footage with all the special guests and musicians.
It can be be ordered from Amazon.com using this link.
New in 2017: "Windy City" @ Amazon
Pete Huttlinger Teaches the Songs of Gordon Lightfoot
January 23, 2016 - Pete passed away in mid-January, after several years of health issues. He was taken from us far too young. Read about him in these beautiful articles: (Billboard.com article) and (Acoutic Guitar).
March 10, 2008 -
OK, folks. If you don't play guitar and don't want to hear about it, skip this review. And, if you do play guitar, please understand that I am a beginner who has never progressed because I don't practice. Five times a year definitely does not work!
However, thanks primarily to some very accomplished guitar playing friends, especially Cathy Cowette, I have a good deal of knowledge about guitar playing - at least in my head, if not in my fingers. I know and understand the terminology, and have mastered a few of the techniques, but can only play slowly. However, with this knowledge, I think I do know what to look for in a guitar instruction video that teaches how to play Lightfoot songs - and this video definitely has what should be there. And Pete Huttlinger, a National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, composer, and arranger, is a great person to teach it. This DVD teaching how to play Lightfoot songs is a gem, and definitely worth considering if you want to learn to play these songs.
Pete's Lightfoot instruction DVD @ Amazon
First, let me briefly comment on the song selection. All of my guitar playing friends had the same reaction I did: the song selection is definitely not what any of us would have chosen. After watching the video, I realized why. Pete has limited his selection to songs which were on Gord's Gold, an album that he specifically mentions as a personal favorite. Yes, it's a great album, but choosing only from that one album - and a somewhat odd selection from there - leaves most of us wanting more. Which, when you get down to it, is not a problem. It leaves Pete with a great opportunity. But there are many gems not on Gord's Gold, and it would have been nice to see one or two of them here.
Read the full review.
I received a review copy of this DVD from the publisher.
Mysteries of the Great Lakes IMAX film uses Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald Recording
Click on "Mysteries of the Great Lakes IMAX film" in the title above to read about it and watch the movie trailer.