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Old 05-19-2011, 03:26 PM   #1
charlene
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http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/Entertainm.../18166596.html

Music
Lightfoot in no hurry for new music
By DARRYL STERDAN, QMI Agency

Waiting for Gordon Lightfoot to write some new songs? Don't hold your breath.

The Canadian folk legend is in no hurry to expand his repertoire -- he's too busy trying to play all the songs he's already written.

"We've had to fight to cycle in a couple of older ones we've been dying to do," explains Lightfoot from his home in Bayview, Ont. "There's about 10 of them sleeping on the sidelines most of the time. Like Home From the Forest. And Sweet Guinevere, which is a dandy. We've got that one back. Then there's Bitter Green, Cold on the Shoulder, Sit Down Young Stranger, Pony Man ... "

OK, point taken; the guy isn't exactly hurting for material. Or for work; after some health scares (and one online death hoax) over the past few years, the 72-year-old troubadour is making up for lost time on the road with a schedule that includes a string of Ontario dates (including four nights at Massey Hall) this month and a Western Canada run in early winter.

Before sitting down to watch the NHL playoffs, the laid-back Lightfoot discussed his health, his memoirs and his fingernails.

You sound good for a man who was pronounced dead a year ago.

Well, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Mark Twain said that in 1897.

How is your health these days?

I'm fine. I feel good, but I'm starting to feel a little bit old. At my age, you begin to slow down -- you don't move quite as fast when you walk. And of course, I went through a bit of a problem three or four years ago when I had a mini-stroke that put my right hand out of commission for about five months. But even then, I actually never stopped playing onstage. I would finger the chords with the left hand and just fake it with the right and direct the band with body movements.

You're working pretty regularly. Did being forced away from the stage make it more urgent for you to get back?

Yes indeed. I really wanted to get back up there. And the kind of energy we're putting out right now -- and the sound we have right now -- is probably better than it's ever been. We're always working on improving the intonation of these pesky instruments we play. I have the skittish tuning of the 12-string guitar to deal with. And I've got two of them, so I spend a lot of time practising. I have my hands on the instrument every day. I'll be doing it tonight while I'm watching the hockey game. While they're playing, I'll get in a two-hour practice. I just run through progressions. I have to strengthen the calluses on my fingers and the nails have got to be the right length because I don't use any thumbpicks or fingerpicks. There's a lot that goes into it.

Do you get itchy when you're off the road for too long?

Yeah, yeah, I do a little bit. But we have regular practices. We practise every other week. You can't stop practising.

You say you're not writing any new songs. Don't you miss it?

Not really. I could be writing. But just doing the concerts is enough for me to think about. We did 81 concerts last year and we're doing really good. But every night's another game -- you wanna score another goal. But yeah, I do remember the feeling when you would come up with a good one that you felt strongly about. I felt that way about Sundown, for instance. That's one of the few that I said, 'Hey, that's not too bad.'

Don't you want that feeling again?

Well, I had it several times. But I didn't have too much time to enjoy it. I'd always be working on the next record. I was under contract; I had to keep stuff coming all the time. As soon as I got one record done, before it was even released, I would be working on the next one. I had to compete. There were just too many Beatles albums and Rod Stewart albums. Even the competition in my own stable at Warner Brothers was unbelievable. Out of 21 artists, I was about 15 on the totem pole. It kept me working, it kept me hustling. It probably ruined two marriages.

You don't sound eager to make another one.

I don't know. I don't foresee it. But you never know. When I did the last album in 1998 I thought I would stop because the pressure was off. But some people asked if I would to do another, and they were so sincere I thought I'd give it a try. So I had that independent one. But just to find the time and the inclination to do it again is hard.

How about writing your memoirs?

Maybe I'll do that if I retire. But I'm not going to be a couch potato.

Gordon Lightfoot's Ontario Tour Dates:

May 19 | Windsor | WFCU Center

May 20 | Cornwall | Civic Complex

May 21 | Brockville | Memorial Civic Center

May 22 | Napanee | SPC Center

May 25-28 | Toronto | Massey Hall

darryl.sterdan@sunmedia.ca

@darryl_sterdan

blogs.canoe.ca/ent

facebook.com/darryl.sterdan
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:25 PM   #2
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Good article, Char. Thanks for posting. You might want to kill off the troll that answered before me.
Greetings,
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:26 PM   #3
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Whoops, you're quick!
-DellroyGM
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
Rob1956
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I always wondered how Gord could just "turn off" any new songs gestating in his brain. Looks like he doesn't. He just ignores them. But they're there. Nice to see he said "you never know" instead of "no...I'm done" as for writing any new songs. Also interesting to see how he sees cycling in various songs in concert as sort of beyond his control. A very revealing interview as to his approach to doing concerts.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:51 PM   #5
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Char: Thanks for sharing this article.

I have learned more about Gordon Lightfoot from this forum in the past few years than I knew in the previous 35 or 40. He's at a great place in his career and I have really enjoyed the shows he and the band have put on since he "retired" from songwriting. Two times in the past three years, I have had to postpone concert plans because of the arrival of my first two grandchildren. My grandson arrived three weeks early on the final night of the spring tour (5/27) but the good news is: they added a concert in Salamanca, NY in September which is a short hop from my house.

I find myself thinking of all of the songs that I still haven't heard him perform live over the years including (in no particular order): Mother of a Miner's Child, Highway Songs, Rainbow Trout, Seven Island Suite, Ode to Big Blue, Knotty Pine, Oh Linda, The Way I Feel and my personal favorite Morning Glory to name a few.

My son and I were sharing a beer last night and talking about my trip to Northern Ontario in two weeks which won't be complete without my Martin dread in tow.
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:15 PM   #6
charlene
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congrats on the new grandbaby! a NEW Lightfoot fan in the making!
Watch out for the skeeters, black flies and horse flies..apparently the wet cool spring has aided in multiplying their populations and making them even nastier..lol
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:25 AM   #7
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Matt, my oldest son, and his wife Nadia are also expecting a baby on August 11th. I can't wait! She had a shower on Sunday and got just a lot of gifts. I hope the test results are correct, because just about everything she got was pink!

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Old 06-07-2011, 07:51 AM   #8
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another new Lightfoot fan! Congrats Cathy, Matt and Nadia!
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