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Old 05-11-2004, 03:31 AM   #1
muklucannie
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GO TO LINK FOR PICTURE: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...l=969483191630
May 11, 2004. 01:00 AM

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BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR
Pleased by his new CD but focused on a full recovery from 2002's burst artery, Gordon Lightfoot stands yesterday outside Massey Hall. He says upcoming concerts "will be a test for me."

Finding his voice again
Lightfoot's coma comeback starts with Harmony CD has `good feel,' but artist himself

is still healing


GREG QUILL

"My records don't sell well enough to amount to a windfall, though I've had three that sold more than a million," a frail, thin-voiced Gordon Lightfoot quipped to a large gathering of media, musical friends and well wishers yesterday on the eve of the release of his 20th collection of original songs, Harmony.

"But they allow me to pay the bills and they keep me involved with my friends, the members of my band."

With a very long walk through the crowd in the basement bar of Massey Hall, the venue for decades of his annual Toronto concert series until the legendary Canadian singer and songwriter was felled in September 2002 by a burst artery and spent almost a year in Hamilton's McMaster University Hospital, and with a very short, unrehearsed speech, Lightfoot confirmed he's both back in the recording business and preparing to perform live again as early as the end of November.

"I told some reporters a while back that if I could get on tour in southern Ontario, I'd like to include Hamilton Place in the itinerary and (perform) a show dedicated to Hamilton Health Sciences, the umbrella organization that oversees five health care entities there.

"Next day there were headlines saying I was planning a fundraising event for the hospital at Hamilton Place November 23 and 24.

"It was news to me ... but that's exactly what I'm going to do ... It will be a test for me and for the people who worked on me!"

A long way from concert-form fit, and almost breathless at times from the lingering effects of a tracheotomy, Lightfoot still showed a keen appreciation of the approval from longtime admirers including Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, and songwriters Adam Mitchell, Joel Kroeker and Harry Manx invited to yesterday's CD launch by his new label, the Toronto-based independent outfit Linus Entertainment.

"It was in this room that they suggested signing with them when my contract with Warner-Reprise had expired after 14 albums," the 64-year-old Orillia-born troubadour said. "I told them I had no material, but their interest turned a screw in my head and I started writing.

"They were the first to ask, so here I am."

The songs Lightfoot had sketched out with just his voice and guitar in 2000 intending to rework and re-record them later are the basis of Harmony, which was pieced together from those fragments by Lightfoot's band members while he was in hospital.

As the singer noted yesterday, "The lyrics sounds as if they were written after the fact.

"I guess I was at one of the low points on life's roller coaster when I started writing ... something like the death of a relationship ... that's the way these things happen," he added, referring apparently to his recent separation from Elizabeth, his wife of 14 years.

When Lightfoot, recipient of 17 Juno Awards and the Order of Canada, awoke in McMaster after six weeks in a coma, he thought the worst, he said.

"We'd had to cancel 26 concerts, many of them in the Maritimes where I hadn't played for eight years, and I thought, `What the hell am I going to do now?' It was a self-pity thing ..."

During a private conversation Lightfoot confided his health remains his prime concern.

"I feel good today, but we've got further to go yet. I'm looking to the end of the year ... it will take that long to get in shape."

He's pleased with Harmony and considers providence had a hand in the early recording of the album's skeletal tracks.

"My parts were done before I got sick. And I like the record ... it has a good feel to it."
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May 11, 2004. 01:00 AM http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...l=969483191630

>ADVERTISEMENT<


Lightfoot's not done, but neither are the songs


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GORDON LIGHTFOOT

Harmony (Linus)

Like an echo of the famous ghost from the wishing well in his most beloved song, Gordon Lightfoot's voice emerges after too long an absence in the opening bars of the title track of his 20th album, Harmony, tentatively begging for the return of his muse.

The elegance of the descending guitar arpeggio belies the fear in the words of an artist suspecting the worst: That he has lost his musical touch.

It's a compelling gambit and sets the tone for everything that follows on this gentle, contemplative and cautious re-entry into recording after a brush with death a burst artery in his abdomen that kept the songwriting legend in a coma for six weeks, and out of the public eye for the better part of two years.

Does Lightfoot storm the ramparts or does he shuffle back into the spotlight, a sad shadow of his former self?

It's neither one nor the other. A long way from his finest work and how could it be, having been pieced together from a selection of live studio demos that were recorded before he was struck down and enhanced while the singer was still in his hospital bed Harmony lacks the energy, focus and poetic grace of many of Lightfoot's most distinguished albums.

His voice sounds stronger than we could expect, but incomplete songs are polished a little too conspicuously by bassist Rick Haynes, drummer Barry Keane, keyboardist Mike Heffernan, guitarists Red Shea and Terry Clements and multi-instrumentalist/producer Bob Doidge.

An attempt at epic drama, "Flying Blind" only jabs at the core story of a bush pilot, and loses itself in meaningless, childlike rhymes. Similarly the beautiful melody in "Inspiration Lady" is weakened by overwrought efforts to rhyme the words of the title.

That said, Harmony contains enough elemental Lightfoot to satisfy any craving. The pretty tune of "No Mistake About It" cleverly conceals a swipe at a deceitful lover and "Shellfish" is a rich affirmation of the singer's instincts of survival.

Perhaps the gem is the last track, "Sometimes I Wish," a rueful ballad embellished by a lush string arrangement that recalls "If You Could Read My Mind" of lost love and regret for promises unfulfilled. With a short, soaring howl, Lightfoot reclaims his territory. Welcome home, Gord.

Greg Quill

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Old 05-11-2004, 03:31 AM   #2
Char1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: canada
Posts: 173
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GO TO LINK FOR PICTURE: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...l=969483191630
May 11, 2004. 01:00 AM

>ADVERTISEMENT<






BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR
Pleased by his new CD but focused on a full recovery from 2002's burst artery, Gordon Lightfoot stands yesterday outside Massey Hall. He says upcoming concerts "will be a test for me."

Finding his voice again
Lightfoot's coma comeback starts with Harmony CD has `good feel,' but artist himself

is still healing


GREG QUILL

"My records don't sell well enough to amount to a windfall, though I've had three that sold more than a million," a frail, thin-voiced Gordon Lightfoot quipped to a large gathering of media, musical friends and well wishers yesterday on the eve of the release of his 20th collection of original songs, Harmony.

"But they allow me to pay the bills and they keep me involved with my friends, the members of my band."

With a very long walk through the crowd in the basement bar of Massey Hall, the venue for decades of his annual Toronto concert series until the legendary Canadian singer and songwriter was felled in September 2002 by a burst artery and spent almost a year in Hamilton's McMaster University Hospital, and with a very short, unrehearsed speech, Lightfoot confirmed he's both back in the recording business and preparing to perform live again as early as the end of November.

"I told some reporters a while back that if I could get on tour in southern Ontario, I'd like to include Hamilton Place in the itinerary and (perform) a show dedicated to Hamilton Health Sciences, the umbrella organization that oversees five health care entities there.

"Next day there were headlines saying I was planning a fundraising event for the hospital at Hamilton Place November 23 and 24.

"It was news to me ... but that's exactly what I'm going to do ... It will be a test for me and for the people who worked on me!"

A long way from concert-form fit, and almost breathless at times from the lingering effects of a tracheotomy, Lightfoot still showed a keen appreciation of the approval from longtime admirers including Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, and songwriters Adam Mitchell, Joel Kroeker and Harry Manx invited to yesterday's CD launch by his new label, the Toronto-based independent outfit Linus Entertainment.

"It was in this room that they suggested signing with them when my contract with Warner-Reprise had expired after 14 albums," the 64-year-old Orillia-born troubadour said. "I told them I had no material, but their interest turned a screw in my head and I started writing.

"They were the first to ask, so here I am."

The songs Lightfoot had sketched out with just his voice and guitar in 2000 intending to rework and re-record them later are the basis of Harmony, which was pieced together from those fragments by Lightfoot's band members while he was in hospital.

As the singer noted yesterday, "The lyrics sounds as if they were written after the fact.

"I guess I was at one of the low points on life's roller coaster when I started writing ... something like the death of a relationship ... that's the way these things happen," he added, referring apparently to his recent separation from Elizabeth, his wife of 14 years.

When Lightfoot, recipient of 17 Juno Awards and the Order of Canada, awoke in McMaster after six weeks in a coma, he thought the worst, he said.

"We'd had to cancel 26 concerts, many of them in the Maritimes where I hadn't played for eight years, and I thought, `What the hell am I going to do now?' It was a self-pity thing ..."

During a private conversation Lightfoot confided his health remains his prime concern.

"I feel good today, but we've got further to go yet. I'm looking to the end of the year ... it will take that long to get in shape."

He's pleased with Harmony and considers providence had a hand in the early recording of the album's skeletal tracks.

"My parts were done before I got sick. And I like the record ... it has a good feel to it."
Additional


Previous Story
Print Story
E-mail Story
Next Story



May 11, 2004. 01:00 AM http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...l=969483191630

>ADVERTISEMENT<


Lightfoot's not done, but neither are the songs


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GORDON LIGHTFOOT

Harmony (Linus)

Like an echo of the famous ghost from the wishing well in his most beloved song, Gordon Lightfoot's voice emerges after too long an absence in the opening bars of the title track of his 20th album, Harmony, tentatively begging for the return of his muse.

The elegance of the descending guitar arpeggio belies the fear in the words of an artist suspecting the worst: That he has lost his musical touch.

It's a compelling gambit and sets the tone for everything that follows on this gentle, contemplative and cautious re-entry into recording after a brush with death a burst artery in his abdomen that kept the songwriting legend in a coma for six weeks, and out of the public eye for the better part of two years.

Does Lightfoot storm the ramparts or does he shuffle back into the spotlight, a sad shadow of his former self?

It's neither one nor the other. A long way from his finest work and how could it be, having been pieced together from a selection of live studio demos that were recorded before he was struck down and enhanced while the singer was still in his hospital bed Harmony lacks the energy, focus and poetic grace of many of Lightfoot's most distinguished albums.

His voice sounds stronger than we could expect, but incomplete songs are polished a little too conspicuously by bassist Rick Haynes, drummer Barry Keane, keyboardist Mike Heffernan, guitarists Red Shea and Terry Clements and multi-instrumentalist/producer Bob Doidge.

An attempt at epic drama, "Flying Blind" only jabs at the core story of a bush pilot, and loses itself in meaningless, childlike rhymes. Similarly the beautiful melody in "Inspiration Lady" is weakened by overwrought efforts to rhyme the words of the title.

That said, Harmony contains enough elemental Lightfoot to satisfy any craving. The pretty tune of "No Mistake About It" cleverly conceals a swipe at a deceitful lover and "Shellfish" is a rich affirmation of the singer's instincts of survival.

Perhaps the gem is the last track, "Sometimes I Wish," a rueful ballad embellished by a lush string arrangement that recalls "If You Could Read My Mind" of lost love and regret for promises unfulfilled. With a short, soaring howl, Lightfoot reclaims his territory. Welcome home, Gord.

Greg Quill

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Old 05-11-2004, 06:50 AM   #3
Borderstone
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Posts: 4,425
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Dang Char! You should've gotten the 1st replies about this! Someone else left the same thing and got responses. Well,I guess the important thing is,heeeeeeee's baaaaaaack! Right? Later!

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"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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