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Old 06-18-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,369
Default Akron article

Who: Gordon Lightfoot
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., Akron
Tickets: $45 to $55 at Ticketmaster outlets
Place:Akron Civic Theater
182 S. Main St., Akron, OH
Map data 2010 Google - Terms of UseBy JOHN BENSON

Singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot has been traveling the globe for more than four decades; however, the Canadian artists memory of Northeast Ohio is as sharp as ever.

I dont believe Ive played in Akron for a long time, Lightfoot said during a phone call from his Toronto home. But I do remember arriving at the airport and going into a place for a drink called the Pad Lounge. It was out by the airport, and it was one of those small, dark little places. It was a really hot, hot day. We slipped in for a cooler. I remember meeting the people and the bartender. I never forgot it.

Apparently, there isnt much about the Buckeye State that Lightfoot has forgotten. In fact, listen to his recollection of the weather and more at a Blossom Music Center show decades ago that featured opener Mimi Fari a, Joan Baezs younger sister.

I remember we had some rain in the evening, Lightfoot said. And during the afternoon, a tiny baby bat fell down from the lights. It was the size of a quarter, and Mimi Fari a tried to keep the poor little thing breathing. And then I remember playing back at La Cave, the coffee house, folk club in Cleveland, at the beginning of my career. That was an interesting time. I shared a bill with folk singer Odetta. Id say that was 1966.

As if another link to Ohio was needed, Lightfoot is naturally remembered for his song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which details the tragic sinking of the freightliner on Lake Superior. Perhaps its the Great Lakes or the fact the song mentions Cleveland, but Lightfoot said that 70s folk song has always meant something more to our area.

Anywhere in the Great Lakes area, you get a feeling of a connection when you do the song, Lightfoot said. Its very popular, and you can feel the vibes when you play it. And its a good song to play; it holds itself together very well. And its the kind of song that is very long, too, but it holds its own. And the ship did not.

One song that Lightfoot said got away from him was his 1967 recording of the Kris Kristofferson-penned Me and Bobby McGee, which was three years before Janis Joplin cut the song just days prior to a drug overdose. Lightfoot said his version is partially responsible for Joplin hearing the song after his friend, singer Bob Neuwirth, an Alliance, Ohio, native, played it for the 60s icon.

Though Me and Bobby McGee did chart for Lightfoot, today he admits its lack of success proved beneficial.

I knew it was a powerful song, but it was done pretty quick, and Im not sure about the production on that song whether it was air-worthy, Lightfoot said. In those days, the recording was very loose. And the performances were very loose. We were young guys, and I was probably hung over the day that I did it. It was one of those songs that if it had been done in a professional manner, it probably could have been a hit. And in a way, Im glad it wasnt because I had another one on the record that was even better, and that was If You Could Read My Mind. I was very happy that that song did emerge.

Decades later, Lightfoot is still singing his hits for loyal audiences. Considering hes getting up in age, how much longer does Lightfoot think hell be touring his sing-along catalog?

During the turn of the century I had an illness, but since I got my stage legs back in 2004, Ive been averaging 70 shows a year, Lightfoot said. I enjoy the work a great deal, and Im very happy that Im still capable of doing songs at 71 years of age. I have a great band and wonderful repertoire. I dont mean to boast, but I think people will leave feeling elated. I hope that they do; they always do.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:22 PM   #2
Wes Steele
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Hudson, Ohio USA
Posts: 359
Default Re: Akron article

Char, thanks for the post.

Great Interview....

Looking forward to tomorrow night...

We have second row seats too....
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