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Old 07-23-2009, 08:17 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,852
Default Keswick article

Gordon Lightfoot will perform at the Keswick Theatre, Wednesday, July 29.

By Nicole Sipe
Ticket Intern

It is said that every form of vocal and instrumental music has some root in folk music. If this is true, then Gordon Lightfoot is a pioneer of the ongoing folk-music scene, and he has been a mainstay in folk and pop music circles for more than four decades. Local music lovers can catch his latest appearance at the Keswick Theatre on July 29.

Lightfoot started out his career singing in coffeehouses and lounges — and even doing a stint as a wedding singer — only to end up as one of the most recognized and covered folk artists to ever grace the charts.

“When I first started, I had about 30 or 40 songs that I would cover in my act, and that’s how I did it for the first two or three years,” says Lightfoot. “And then part of me said, ‘I'm going to write my own stuff.’ I eventually wrote enough that I could gradually incorporate my own material and phase out the other stuff.”

In 1965 Lightfoot signed a contract with United Artists and the rest is history. He entered the international charts in the 1970s, with hits such as ‘If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” In 1970 he signed with Reprise Records and the next 28 years were filled with successful albums and hectic tour schedules.

“I just want to put on great shows. After 33 years of coming up with songs, I just want to focus on performing the music that I’ve already written. I love performing in front of a crowd and I have a great band, so my main focus now is to keep up a good show,” says Lightfoot.

But Lightfoot’s songs aren’t cheesy ’70s love ballads with clichéd lyrics. Every one of his songs is a story and every song has a deep meaning. His 1976 hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is a perfect example. Written about the 1975 sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior, the song has since become iconic in folk music.

“I wrote the whole song from a newspaper article. I figured, if I’m going to do it, I’d better do it right. I was on a roll; it happened to fit with a melody and chord progression that I had and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to make sure that this ship is never forgotten,’” says Lightfoot.

Due in large part to Lightfoot’s landmark folk ballad, the ship has never been forgotten. And that's just one song out of many that continues the legacy of Gordon Lightfoot. His music is often historic, usually poignant and always soulful. His guitar-playing is expertly mixed with his smooth, confident baritone in a combination that will make anyone sit up and listen.

His songs have been covered by such artists as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Barbra Streisand. With acquaintances like this, you know Gordon Lightfoot is the real deal and his performance at the Keswick should definitely not be missed.

“When Elvis did ‘Early Morning Rain,’ it didn’t dawn on me how important it was. Likewise with Bob Dylan. The importance didn’t come until later on in my career. Now there’s such a respect when I sing these songs onstage,” says Lightfoot.

Don’t miss the man who made the music that everyone wants to impersonate — because no matter who covers his songs, nobody can ever deliver the goods quite as well as Lightfoot himself.


Gordon Lightfoot

will perform

at The Keswick Theatre,

Sarton Rd. & Keswick Ave.,

Glenside PA, 19038,

Wednesday, July 29, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $39 - $49.

Info: 215-572-7650 or
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