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Old 04-26-2008, 11:57 AM   #1
Auburn Annie
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Default Kitchener-April 2008 article

Passion for playing gets Lightfoot back on the road


MATHEW McCARTHY, RECORD FILE PHOTO

RECORD STAFF

KITCHENER

Gordon Lightfoot doesn't have anything more to prove.

His mantle brims with just about every honour a Canadian recording artist can acquire. An incomplete list includes: 20 original studio albums since 1966; 15 Juno awards; five Grammy nominations; Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee; Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee; Canadian Walk of Fame inductee; Order of Ontario; Companion of the Order of Canada

Still, as he approaches his 70th birthday, he continues to tour extensively after recovering from a near-fatal abdominal aneurysm that plunged him into a two-month coma in the fall of 2002.

After touring the U.S. for three months, he returns to Ontario for shows in Ottawa, Hamilton and Centre in Square before four performances at Massey Hall, his annual spring ritual. Then it's back to the U.S. for much of June before taking the summer off.

Why does he do it?

"You could call it a passion," he says over the phone from his Toronto home.

He recommitted himself to touring when songwriting "got to be a burden."

"I was under contract with two record companies for 33 years. There was a lot of pressure to produce on demand and it got more difficult as I got older."

When he gained control of his career he concentrated on his family and on his live shows -- "what I really love doing."

An illness as serious as Lightfoot suffered would have ended most careers, were it not for his excellent general health -- he has worked out religiously in the gym for years.

His music was instrumental in his 19-month recovery. "It helped in the healing process to have material to work on."

Lightfoot had written material and had recorded guitar and vocal bed tracks for an album before his illness. While he was recovering, his band laid down their individual accompanying tracks.

"My band members worked on most of the album without me being there," he recalls. The result was Harmony, released in 2004.

Lightfoot has sustained a long relationship with Centre in the Square.

The first international performer to grace its stage, he appeared over two nights when it opened in 1980. His performance Saturday marks his ninth concert appearance. Before the Centre opened, he played the University of Waterloo. "When I walk out onstage at the Centre in the Square I'm walking into familiar territory."

The legendary singer/songwriter has lots of friends in Kitchener. Ed Ringwald (a.k.a. Pee Wee Charles), who played steel guitar in his band in the 1970s, lives in Waterloo. Many of the men who accompanied Lightfoot on 10 trips to the Canadian sub-Arctic over 15 years live in Waterloo Region.

No Canadian songwriter has written more classic songs than Lightfoot.

His catalogue includes such enduring songs as Early Mornin' Rain, Canadian Railroad Trilogy, Bitter Green, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, If You Could Read My Mind, Alberta Bound, Sundown and A Painter Passing Through, to mention only a handful of the most obvious. Every fan has his or her list of favourites. Lightfoot admits putting together a songlist is far from easy. "It's difficult fitting in all the songs. I rotate two shows to keep it fresh and interesting."

With so many great songs to choose from, the question arises: does Gordon Lightfoot have a favourite?

When asked, he doesn't hesitate to identify the song that means the most to him -- In My Fashion, from his 1982 album Shadows. It's not only a good song, it proved prophetic:

"There have been times, I have seen the reaper

In the bad times, and in the good

I have bent down, I have touched the ground

Saying prayers and touching wood

In my fashion I have been a good man

I have loved and I have lost

And ever after I will be remembered

In my fashion, in my way."

rreid@therecord.com

GORDON LIGHTFOOT IN CONCERT

Centre in the Square

Saturday, May 3, 8 p.m.

Tickets $49 - $99, call the Centre box office at 519-578-1570 or visit www.centre-square.com
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Old 04-26-2008, 01:04 PM   #2
charlene
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Default Re: Another article

Gordon Lightfoot - "In My Fashion - In My Way"..
yep - that says it all..
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Old 04-26-2008, 01:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Another article

His favorite song? The song that means the most to him? Surely I can't be the only one who is surprised at his answer?
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Old 04-26-2008, 01:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Another article

No, you're not alone. I seem to recall him saying in the past that he was most proud of TWOTEF.
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Old 04-26-2008, 01:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Another article

Yes, exactly. And specifically that it means the most to him because it touched so many people, in particular the families of the men lost.

Now, I can understand that In My Fashion might be the most personally resonant at the moment; written over 25 years ago about his first marriage yet perfectly applicable to today. Given the loneliness he hinted at in a just previous interview, I would say that this is the reason he is thinking a lot about IMF these days.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought about this!
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Another article

He's mentioned The Wreck many times but it seems that the 'mood' he's in these days (IMHO) the lyrics to In My Fashion have struck a deep chord for some reason..he's being very introspective and reflective about things in his life..perhaps this is resonating in him for more personal reasons than he's admitted to before.
I always hear IMF and think of that other Canuck - Paul Anka and his declaration of doing things 'his way'..he wrote it for Sinatra but it certainly applies to Anka personally. And Anka ALWAYS modifies it for the occasion but it always says "MY Way"...
It's gonna be an interesting 4 nights at Massey..
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:45 PM   #7
RM
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Not knowing how these things work, I wonder......Does Lightfoot set up a specific date for newspaper interviews ? If so, there may be a possibility that both interviews were done on the same day, and by now the skies have cleared, and sunny days lie ahead.
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:47 PM   #8
charlene
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Mr. Bernie Fiedler is the long time friend/promoter who sets up the interviews with print/tv for the most part..according to the "availability" of Mr.Lightfoot of course..
Some may be set up directly with Gord tho..
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