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Old 04-21-2005, 06:06 AM   #1
Auburn Annie
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Shaking off the cobwebs and dust
After battling back from a near-fatal illness, Gordon Lightfoot says he's ready to hit the road again

By Larry LeBlanc, Billboard
April 21, 2005

After nearly dying of an abdominal hemorrhage three years ago, Canadian folk patriarch Gordon Lightfoot is ready to go back on tour.

M.P.I. Talent Agency in Los Angeles has booked 35 Lightfoot dates in North America, including a Sunday show at The Canyon in Agoura Hills.

Despite lingering health issues, Lightfoot will hit the road.

"Things are booked, so I have to be there," he says. "I simply have to be. We've been doing rehearsals for four months, so I'm well-practiced now.

"My hands are still a bit stiff, but I'm working on that. I expect the vocal to look after itself. It has been tested quite seriously."

Barry Harvey, general manager of Lightfoot's Early Morning Productions in Toronto, adds, "Most artists would be unsure of touring again after something like this happening, but performing is part of who Gordon is. I see that on his face every day when we talk about touring."

Three years out of the spotlight has resulted in greater market interest in Lightfoot, according to booker Stephan Boyd at M.P.I.

"Demand for Gordon is tenfold from what it has ever been," he says.

"Gordon has been away for some time after touring consistently for years."

"We expect the demand for Lightfoot tickets will be tremendous," says Jeff Wells, production manager of the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Ill., where the folk troubadour will perform Aug. 13-14. "This could be one of his last tours."

A 60-date North American tour in 2002 was cancelled after Lightfoot collapsed just hours before he was to perform in Orillia in Ontario, Canada. He was taken to McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, where he spent six weeks in a coma.

While bedridden and after leaving the hospital in late 2003, Lightfoot supervised instrumental overdubs and mixing of tracks he had originally made as vocal-and-guitar rehearsal recordings. This resulted in his 20th album, "Harmony," which Toronto-based independent Linus Entertainment released in May 2004.

During the upcoming dates, Lightfoot will perform material from "Harmony," as well as from his five United Artist albums and 14 with Warner-affiliated labels.

This includes such songs as "If You Could Read My Mind," "Early Morning Rain" and "Sundown," plus key album tracks like "Cobwebs and Dust" and "Sit Down Young Stranger."

"There are 50 songs I can draw from that audiences want to hear," Lightfoot says.

"I still haven't tackled 'Canadian Railroad Trilogy.' It has a lot of high notes in it."

For obvious reasons, the 65-year-old Lightfoot is working at a slower pace, but he rules out retirement.

"There's no point in retiring," he says.

"After what I came through I am thankful about being able to go out again.

"It's difficult to say if I'll still record. Being ill has changed my priorities."


The Canadian folk legend performs at 9 p.m., April 24 at The Canon, 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills. Tickets, $38.50 and $58.50, are available by calling 1-818-879-5016. Visit http://www.thecanyonclub.net for more information.


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Old 04-21-2005, 06:06 AM   #2
Auburn Annie
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Shaking off the cobwebs and dust
After battling back from a near-fatal illness, Gordon Lightfoot says he's ready to hit the road again

By Larry LeBlanc, Billboard
April 21, 2005

After nearly dying of an abdominal hemorrhage three years ago, Canadian folk patriarch Gordon Lightfoot is ready to go back on tour.

M.P.I. Talent Agency in Los Angeles has booked 35 Lightfoot dates in North America, including a Sunday show at The Canyon in Agoura Hills.

Despite lingering health issues, Lightfoot will hit the road.

"Things are booked, so I have to be there," he says. "I simply have to be. We've been doing rehearsals for four months, so I'm well-practiced now.

"My hands are still a bit stiff, but I'm working on that. I expect the vocal to look after itself. It has been tested quite seriously."

Barry Harvey, general manager of Lightfoot's Early Morning Productions in Toronto, adds, "Most artists would be unsure of touring again after something like this happening, but performing is part of who Gordon is. I see that on his face every day when we talk about touring."

Three years out of the spotlight has resulted in greater market interest in Lightfoot, according to booker Stephan Boyd at M.P.I.

"Demand for Gordon is tenfold from what it has ever been," he says.

"Gordon has been away for some time after touring consistently for years."

"We expect the demand for Lightfoot tickets will be tremendous," says Jeff Wells, production manager of the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Ill., where the folk troubadour will perform Aug. 13-14. "This could be one of his last tours."

A 60-date North American tour in 2002 was cancelled after Lightfoot collapsed just hours before he was to perform in Orillia in Ontario, Canada. He was taken to McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, where he spent six weeks in a coma.

While bedridden and after leaving the hospital in late 2003, Lightfoot supervised instrumental overdubs and mixing of tracks he had originally made as vocal-and-guitar rehearsal recordings. This resulted in his 20th album, "Harmony," which Toronto-based independent Linus Entertainment released in May 2004.

During the upcoming dates, Lightfoot will perform material from "Harmony," as well as from his five United Artist albums and 14 with Warner-affiliated labels.

This includes such songs as "If You Could Read My Mind," "Early Morning Rain" and "Sundown," plus key album tracks like "Cobwebs and Dust" and "Sit Down Young Stranger."

"There are 50 songs I can draw from that audiences want to hear," Lightfoot says.

"I still haven't tackled 'Canadian Railroad Trilogy.' It has a lot of high notes in it."

For obvious reasons, the 65-year-old Lightfoot is working at a slower pace, but he rules out retirement.

"There's no point in retiring," he says.

"After what I came through I am thankful about being able to go out again.

"It's difficult to say if I'll still record. Being ill has changed my priorities."


The Canadian folk legend performs at 9 p.m., April 24 at The Canon, 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills. Tickets, $38.50 and $58.50, are available by calling 1-818-879-5016. Visit http://www.thecanyonclub.net for more information.


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Old 04-21-2005, 07:52 AM   #3
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Great article. Thanks for posting it Annie! It's a shame it took a near-death experience for Lightfoot's resurgence as a concert draw but I'm very happy to hear he is in demand again. The show Saturday in Cerritos is completely sold out! I can hardly wait. :D
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:16 PM   #4
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No doubt, great news! Though certainly any concerts I attended prior to 2002 were always sell outs or near ones at least. I think he always was a great concert draw even if the albums didn't sell hugely. Still, let's hope for one more album! (Is that being greedy???)
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:16 PM   #5
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No doubt, great news! Though certainly any concerts I attended prior to 2002 were always sell outs or near ones at least. I think he always was a great concert draw even if the albums didn't sell hugely. Still, let's hope for one more album! (Is that being greedy???)
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Old 04-21-2005, 07:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by hkusam:
No doubt, great news! Though certainly any concerts I attended prior to 2002 were always sell outs or near ones at least. I think he always was a great concert draw even if the albums didn't sell hugely. Still, let's hope for one more album! (Is that being greedy???)
Heck no, greedy is another 4 or 5 albums LOL. If EMP digs through the archives of recorded Massey concerts I'm sure there's enough for at least one more live album; I'd love another stripped down studio album like HARMONY (maybe a couple of cuts with just Gord and guitar.) Less is more.
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Old 04-21-2005, 07:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by hkusam:
No doubt, great news! Though certainly any concerts I attended prior to 2002 were always sell outs or near ones at least. I think he always was a great concert draw even if the albums didn't sell hugely. Still, let's hope for one more album! (Is that being greedy???)
Heck no, greedy is another 4 or 5 albums LOL. If EMP digs through the archives of recorded Massey concerts I'm sure there's enough for at least one more live album; I'd love another stripped down studio album like HARMONY (maybe a couple of cuts with just Gord and guitar.) Less is more.
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Old 04-21-2005, 08:26 PM   #8
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Totally in agreement there with you, Annie.
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:10 PM   #9
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Wonderful article! Kind of weird reading that his illness is already "nearly 3 years ago". Doesn't seem that long does it?

I'd like,as it said in the article,to see his popularity increase here 10 fold. I'd love for a GL "Rennaisance Period" to take hold here in the states for a year or two.

Of course,I thought "Harmony" would take care of that. Been me! Later!
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:50 PM   #10
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Was anyone else mildly disappointed by the article? I was. I saw Gord in concert in Hamilton and it was very good, but the comments found in this article suggest that he is obviously still strugling. His hands are stiff, he can't handle CRT, and his priorities have changed (so perhaps he will not record again). I guess I was just hoping that as he entered into this new touring regimen that he would be back to the way he was before the illness. I suppose I'm dreaming. I'm afraid that the new concerts won't be quite up to what we're used to. Some of you will have a chance to prove me wrong this weekend.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:01 AM   #11
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Yes, Minstrel Man! That's what I've been saying! All the newspaper articles keep bringing it up as if the man's incapacitated or something! I know he's not as he once was and that he's 67 now, and all that jazz...but, jeez, they keep going on and on, never letting anyone see him for who he is NOW, you know? And, as Char let us know, the Man is back! The Man is back as good as he can be, the best that he is. I already got my rear-end chewed for speaking my mind on this before, but, I don't mind speaking out again...I've been going through CRT in my mind and, yeah, there are lots of high notes...so, fine, he won't sing it. He's got a ton of other songs we all love... gee, wouldn't it get boring to keep singing the same group of songs over and over? Mix 'em up, I say! I want to hear "Saturday Clothes!!" I want APPT, I want Christian Island, Don Q (Brink's fav), Beautiful.. and from the new album, I want to hear River of Light, Inspiration Lady, and the End of All Time. Well, as one concert-goer shouted out to Gord, "Sing what ya want, Gord!"
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Old 04-22-2005, 03:18 AM   #12
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Minstral Man: No, I'm not disappointed in the article. The comments concerning "fingers," "voice," and "not recording" are Gords - not a reporters evaluation of his condition.

Gord's always been pretty upfront and pragmatic about things. Perhaps "disciplined" is accurate.

Without going into details as to the "wherefor and the why," some years ago (shortly after East of Midnight,) Gord expressed the possiblility that he might stop recording then.

My heart fibulated. No! Not possible! I didn't speak up, but my gut wrenched at the thought. Gord then let me exhale by saying, "Well, I guess I might have a few more songs in me." The guys in the band just chuckled knowingly. The friend who brought me later owned up to the same bit of panic I'd had.

"Time moves like a river. And you can either sink or swim. And a wise man learns to forgive her for all she's done to him." John Stewart wrote that.

I figure the river Gord's riding "like a June bug travellin'" will take him all the way to home to the sea - and us right along.

At a different pace, perhaps, but I further figure there will be more. Music is breath.

We're right under the spout where the music pours out. A thirsty voice w/ age and trials? Yes . . . So?

The Rez

"No one's getting younger and a few aren't getting old. It's all in what you think about and not in what you're told" (JS)
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Old 04-22-2005, 05:31 AM   #13
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Its time for me to tread on some toes people.

Dwelling on the fact that "The Man's" vocal and possibly his guitar work may not be what it was 20 -30 years ago is both negative but more importantly it is fairyland stuff.
Have a look in the mirror people! Are you performing at the levels in every sphere that you were 20/30 years ago? Why is it that Gord and all his skills are expected to be frozen in time? He is human -although some of the magic he has shown may convince us otherwise. I presume it hasn't escaped your notice that he has had the odd health setback ? Be glad for what you are about to experience. Some of us won't get a chance to do that. A legend remains a legend based on what he has achieved. That status doesn't diminish with time - he has earnt that forever. Personally I would turn up and cheer at the announcement of a "digitally enhanced " GL performance as his fingernails were being drawn over a chalkboard if I could get there.

Venom exhausted guys. Now I love you all again....


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Old 04-22-2005, 06:03 AM   #14
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<<Personally I would turn up and cheer at the announcement of a "digitally enhanced " GL performance as his fingernails were being drawn over a chalkboard if I could get there.>>

Well said S-Steve!
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:31 AM   #15
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Another way to look at this I saw Gord several times in the 1970's at Massey Hall. One or two times he had drank to much booze and it impacted the concert a fair amount. In fact one time he was luckly to finish the concert. I am sure this concert will be better than that evening.
He has stopped drinking several years ago so this is not a problem.
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:31 AM   #16
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Another way to look at this I saw Gord several times in the 1970's at Massey Hall. One or two times he had drank to much booze and it impacted the concert a fair amount. In fact one time he was luckly to finish the concert. I am sure this concert will be better than that evening.
He has stopped drinking several years ago so this is not a problem.
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:09 PM   #17
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You know,I used to suffer from what some people out there suffer from,in terms of famous folk and the certain era's they were supposedly "best" in.

The affliction is called "yester-itis"! The symtomps are a delusional state of mind where one can only see an actor,singer performer of any kind,only as they were at the height of their popularity. Also when the afflicted person was younger which is where the delusion is strongest.

People in the media suffer from this worse than anyone though by focusing on only past accomplishments and when,God in Heaven forbid,this person tries to return,the focus is also on how "they're just not the same" and if they've been ill or in rehab,that takes precedence over their current project and what is new and better in ther life.

The cure? Well,overall I can't say but for Gordon Lightfoot? Just put a copy of his debut LP next to Harmony,look at the pictures back & forth for a bit and *presto!* you'll snap right out of it!~ (Works for fans of the Stones who still are in denial these guys are 100! :D
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Old 04-23-2005, 01:32 AM   #18
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LOL Borderstone!! (re: Stones)
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Old 04-23-2005, 02:52 PM   #19
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Steve, I agree with what you're saying; but in all fairness, the discussion in this thread is whether Gord is back to where he was 3 years ago prior to his illness, performance wise, and if he is still having problems as a result of the illness. From what I'm reading here, the concern is "is he taking on too much too soon and not allowing himself time to fully recover?" and not at all, "Jeez, if he doesn't sound like he did his concerts won't be worth a crap."

I see nothing but concern for his health and well being in this thread.

That's just my loose change.


Quote:
Originally posted by SYDNEY STEVE:
Its time for me to tread on some toes people.

Dwelling on the fact that "The Man's" vocal and possibly his guitar work may not be what it was 20 -30 years ago is both negative but more importantly it is fairyland stuff.
Have a look in the mirror people! Are you performing at the levels in every sphere that you were 20/30 years ago? Why is it that Gord and all his skills are expected to be frozen in time? He is human -although some of the magic he has shown may convince us otherwise. I presume it hasn't escaped your notice that he has had the odd health setback ? Be glad for what you are about to experience. Some of us won't get a chance to do that. A legend remains a legend based on what he has achieved. That status doesn't diminish with time - he has earnt that forever. Personally I would turn up and cheer at the announcement of a "digitally enhanced " GL performance as his fingernails were being drawn over a chalkboard if I could get there.

Venom exhausted guys. Now I love you all again....


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Old 04-26-2005, 08:48 PM   #20
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Sorry, I'm still stuck on the digitally enhanced fingernails down the chalkboard (cringing and covered in goosebumps as I write this). The man's my favorite singer/songwriter, master lyricist, but I'd have to miss that one. (shudder!)
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