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Old 03-26-2024, 05:13 PM   #1
charlene
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Default The Lightfoot Band article-March 23 2024

The Lightfoot Band bringing icon's songs alive again on Sarnia stage. Musicians who backed the late Gordon Lightfoot for decades are performing his songs on a tour stopping April 27 at Sarnia’s Imperial Theatre. Paul Morden - Sarnia Observer
Published Mar 23, 2024
Musicians who backed the late Gordon Lightfoot for decades are performing his songs on a tour stopping April 27 at Sarnia’s Imperial Theatre.
Lightfoot, who died at 84 in May 2023, sold millions of records, had singles on Billboard’s Top 10 beginning in the 1970s, won 16 Juno Awards and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, among many other honours.
“It was a shock, obviously last year back on May 1 when we heard of Gordon’s passing,” said Barry Keane, drummer for the singer-songwriter for 47 years.
After a period of mourning, four of Lightfoot’s longtime backing musicians came together “and said, ‘What do you think guys, should we keep this going?’ ”
The musicians decided they needed to find a singer and then “we would continue by honouring Gordon (and) . . . playing his great songs the way he wanted them played,” Keane said.
“Gord was very particular about his music and how he wanted it performed,” Keane said. “There was definitely a loyalty both ways between Gord and the rest of us. That’s the only way you stick around for all those decades.”The Lightfoot Band includes Keane, Rick Haynes on bass who had been with Lightfoot since 1968, Mike Heffernan on keyboards who had 41 years with the singer, and Carter Lancaster, who played lead guitar in the band for 12 years.
“We went out and found a singer,” Keane said. That turned out to be Andy Mauck, who lives in Florida and also plays rhythm guitar.
“We’re so lucky to have found Andy,” Keane said. “He was a longtime Lightfoot fan. He actually knows more Lightfoot songs than I do.”
The band has played some dates on a spring tour and “crowd reaction has been just fantastic,” Keane said. “It has been very encouraging and exciting.”
They weren’t sure initially how fans would feel about the band carrying on and “you can imagine the gigantic shoes that Andy has had to fill,” Keane said.“There’s no doubt about it. There never will be another Gordon Lightfoot. He’s a very special songwriter, performer, person.”
The band’s last show with Lightfoot was in October 2022, “then Gord started having some health issues,” Keane said. A planned trip to California that year was cancelled, as were dates in March 2023.
The audience in Sarnia can expect to hear classics, including Sundown, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, If You Could Read My Mind, Beautiful and Carefree Highway.
“The hardest part right now is trying to decide what songs not to play,” Keane said.
“We’re not Bruce Springsteen. We don’t really want to do a four-hour concert, which we could do and they would all be great Gordon Lightfoot songs.”Near the end of the band’s time touring with Lightfoot, he had stopped performing some songs live due tohis age, Keane said. “We can bring back some of those songs, like Summer Side of Life, Canadian Railroad Trilogy and The Circle is Small.”
It has been a few years since the musicians played Sarnia, “and we’re all looking forward to being there,” Keane said.
It’s also a chance for fans in nearby Michigan to see a show, since the band has no dates planned there this year.
Tickets to the Sarnia show, April 27 at 8 p.m., are available online at imperialtheatre.net and from the theatre box office at 519-344-7469.
www.thelightfootband.com for Band info/tour dates etc.
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