Friday, February 08, 2008

Gordon Lightfoot at the Chattanooga Tivoli

Found this article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press by Casey Phillips. There's some nice, short discussion about the current songs of one of Canada's outstanding songwriters, Gordon Lightfoot, and some his classics:

With a career spanning more than 45 years, Gordon Lightfoot has had a long time to make a name for himself.

But it took a trio of other names — Peter, Paul and Mary — to give the 69-year-old Canadian folk singer/songwriter’s career the boost it needed, he said.

“(Their cover of) ‘For Loving Me’ went up quite high on the charts ... and got my career started down in the States,” he said. “When (they) recorded that song, they actually started my career.”

It often seems that praise for Lightfoot comes from his peers as often as from critics and fans.

Bob Dylan is quoted as saying of Lightfoot’s work, “Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever.” Johnny Cash referred to Lightfoot’s 1967 single “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” an epic of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, as “an extremely fine piece of songwriting.”

Wednesday, Lightfoot will perform renditions from a 20-album discography spanning multiple decades when he takes the stage at the Tivoli Theatre.

Since suffering a burst artery in 2002 that prevented him from performing for 28 months, Lightfoot said his songwriting has strayed from sprawling epics such as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” he wrote earlier in his career. Now, his writing is more focused on songs that are “more entertaining,” he said.

“There are a lot more toe-tappers now than before. It’s not all ballads. There’s a lot of good beat material in my show.”

Still, Lightfoot hasn’t forgotten the songs that garnered him attention south of the border. Fans of his classics should be well satisfied when they leave the Tivoli, he said.

You can hear Gordon Lightfoot discuss some of his songwriting background. In this mp3, he talks about the first song he wrote at age 17, inspired by the hulla-hoop craze of the 1950s.

And in this mp3, the songwriter discusses the story behind "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and what he would write another 7-minute epic song about.

May the Muse be with us all...

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