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Old 07-20-2006, 04:15 PM   #1
KismetLisa
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Gordon Lightfoot will bring more than 40 years' worth of classic songs to the State Theatre.
Back in 2002, the man who wrote "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" was a bit of a wreck himself.
During a concert in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot collapsed onstage and slipped into a coma, the victim of a burst artery in his abdomen.
"I sprang a slow leak," he says. "And it was a good thing it was slow, because if it had been any quicker I would have been dead. I don't remember anything for five-and-a-half weeks. I was just out cold. It was early September when I was felled and when I awoke, the hospital was being prepped for Halloween."
Mr. Lightfoot isn't the only veteran Canadian musician who was sidelined by an aneurysm. In March of 2005, Neil Young had the same kind of ticking time bomb removed from his brain. But at least he had symptoms the doctors knew it was there. Mr. Lightfoot says, for him, there was no indication of the abnormality.
"In the abdomen, the only way to tell would be to have an ultrasound, which is more than the average doctor is going to do in the course of a regular checkup," he says. "But this kind of thing is usually fatal, so I was lucky. It took a long, long time to get back on my feet. And it was 28 months between concerts."
When he did make it back to the stage, it was in Hamilton, Ontario, a benefit for the hospital that had looked after him.
"We did two nights there and some of the doctors and nurses came to the show," Mr. Lightfoot says. "I was able to get up there and show them I could do it, raise some money and also say 'thank you.' I've done something like 50 shows since I started playing again. It's not a problem. There's a way, there's a science to it. As long as the people are coming to see you, you keep moving forward."
Even as he was getting his guitar skills up to speed and strengthening his voice during the recovery process, Mr. Lightfoot was working on songs for his 20th album, Harmony (SpinART/Ryko). He'll bring more than 40 years' worth of classic songs to the State Theatre in New Brunswick Aug. 3.
Speaking from his home near Toronto, Mr. Lightfoot says almost as soon as he came out of the coma, he started thinking about getting back to his music.
"It's the only real refuge I'd ever had anyway," he writes in the liner notes for Harmony. "I remembered, months before (the coma) that I had recorded a considerable number of fresh songs, with guitar and vocal only. Perhaps my radar was telling me to get ready for a rainy day.
"Thoughts about orchestration began entering my mind," he continues. "We could pick out the best practice tracks and use them as basic tracks. In the final analysis, the job was what mattered. It was good being preoccupied in a constructive way with a project in the works. A feeling of confidence was in the air."
To be expected, spending almost six weeks in the hospital had a devastating effect on Mr. Lightfoot's body. The aneurysm required a number of procedures, including a tracheotomy, which he describes as a "minor issue." When he came out of the coma, he began to appreciate the physicality of being a performer getting his lungs up to speed so he could sing and reconditioning his hands to play guitar.
"I couldn't get my hands working the way I wanted, and I discussed getting cortisone shots with the surgeon, but he recommended practicing instead," Mr. Lightfoot says. "So I began to practice the guitar and pretty soon, between working out and practicing, it came back to me. Pretty soon, I brought the guys in and we started to work on some tunes, which is great therapy."
It might surprise his fans, but the man who was described as a "sensitive singer-songwriter" back in the day is nearly a "gym rat" now, working out as much as four times a week.
"I like to go the gym, I've been doing it for years and it really helps my singing," Mr. Lightfoot says. "Right now I'm getting ready for a strenuous tour, so I want to get my energy level up. It's not just a 'religion' people even think it's kind of square. It's become part of the concert, because it's what keeps this 68-year-old body working and keeps the lungs putting out the sound. If I didn't work out, I don't think I'd be able to sing and play. You get out onstage and you can't be out of shape."
The author of and voice behind such songs as "Sundown," "If You Could Read My Mind," and "Carefree Highway," Mr. Lightfoot has five Grammy nominations and 17 Juno Awards in his native Canada. In fact, he's received the highest Canadian honor the Governor General's Award for his international efforts in spreading Canadian culture around the world. Mr. Lightfoot has also been commemorated on Canada's Walk of Fame as is a member of the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Peter, Paul and Mary, Jane's Addiction and Sarah McLachlan.
In 2003, a number of mostly Canadian artists got together to record Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot, which the singer-songwriter praises highly.
"I gave it 10 stars," he says. "It worked really well."
He thinks a new generation of folk musicians are discovering his music for a simple reason it's playable.
"When it comes to sitting down and learning some chords on the guitar, it's nice to have some of the folk stuff as an example," Mr. Lightfoot says. "They (the musicians) can figure out what I'm doing and learn something. They also get inspired to write songs. All you need to know are a few chords to write a song. And it's real simple first the chords, then the melody and then lyrics. Everyone should try songwriting, because if they have a real gift, it'll show up."
Mr. Lightfoot admits he's not listening to new music as much as he used to ("it all changes so quickly"), focusing instead on his own work, making it the best he possibly can.
"Since I've been ill, my priorities have changed," he says. "Family and music mean more now. Plus, I have a little enterprise going here that needs to be looked after, my staff and what not. It's quite an undertaking when you're going for the longevity factor in this business. But it's a great goal. Look at Willie Nelson he's a prime example of longevity at work. As long as you can play and the people want to come out, and you feel like you're doing a good show, and you believe in your material, and you enjoy doing it. You just carry on.
"I got started around the time of the folk revival in 1960 but my first album came out in 1965, so it's been a heckuva long run," Mr. Lightfoot continues. "I've made a total number of 20 albums I completed the last one when I was in the hospital. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride, with all the changes in music, but there are survivors and I'm part of that crew."
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Old 07-20-2006, 04:15 PM   #2
Blackberry John
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Gordon Lightfoot will bring more than 40 years' worth of classic songs to the State Theatre.
Back in 2002, the man who wrote "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" was a bit of a wreck himself.
During a concert in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot collapsed onstage and slipped into a coma, the victim of a burst artery in his abdomen.
"I sprang a slow leak," he says. "And it was a good thing it was slow, because if it had been any quicker I would have been dead. I don't remember anything for five-and-a-half weeks. I was just out cold. It was early September when I was felled and when I awoke, the hospital was being prepped for Halloween."
Mr. Lightfoot isn't the only veteran Canadian musician who was sidelined by an aneurysm. In March of 2005, Neil Young had the same kind of ticking time bomb removed from his brain. But at least he had symptoms the doctors knew it was there. Mr. Lightfoot says, for him, there was no indication of the abnormality.
"In the abdomen, the only way to tell would be to have an ultrasound, which is more than the average doctor is going to do in the course of a regular checkup," he says. "But this kind of thing is usually fatal, so I was lucky. It took a long, long time to get back on my feet. And it was 28 months between concerts."
When he did make it back to the stage, it was in Hamilton, Ontario, a benefit for the hospital that had looked after him.
"We did two nights there and some of the doctors and nurses came to the show," Mr. Lightfoot says. "I was able to get up there and show them I could do it, raise some money and also say 'thank you.' I've done something like 50 shows since I started playing again. It's not a problem. There's a way, there's a science to it. As long as the people are coming to see you, you keep moving forward."
Even as he was getting his guitar skills up to speed and strengthening his voice during the recovery process, Mr. Lightfoot was working on songs for his 20th album, Harmony (SpinART/Ryko). He'll bring more than 40 years' worth of classic songs to the State Theatre in New Brunswick Aug. 3.
Speaking from his home near Toronto, Mr. Lightfoot says almost as soon as he came out of the coma, he started thinking about getting back to his music.
"It's the only real refuge I'd ever had anyway," he writes in the liner notes for Harmony. "I remembered, months before (the coma) that I had recorded a considerable number of fresh songs, with guitar and vocal only. Perhaps my radar was telling me to get ready for a rainy day.
"Thoughts about orchestration began entering my mind," he continues. "We could pick out the best practice tracks and use them as basic tracks. In the final analysis, the job was what mattered. It was good being preoccupied in a constructive way with a project in the works. A feeling of confidence was in the air."
To be expected, spending almost six weeks in the hospital had a devastating effect on Mr. Lightfoot's body. The aneurysm required a number of procedures, including a tracheotomy, which he describes as a "minor issue." When he came out of the coma, he began to appreciate the physicality of being a performer getting his lungs up to speed so he could sing and reconditioning his hands to play guitar.
"I couldn't get my hands working the way I wanted, and I discussed getting cortisone shots with the surgeon, but he recommended practicing instead," Mr. Lightfoot says. "So I began to practice the guitar and pretty soon, between working out and practicing, it came back to me. Pretty soon, I brought the guys in and we started to work on some tunes, which is great therapy."
It might surprise his fans, but the man who was described as a "sensitive singer-songwriter" back in the day is nearly a "gym rat" now, working out as much as four times a week.
"I like to go the gym, I've been doing it for years and it really helps my singing," Mr. Lightfoot says. "Right now I'm getting ready for a strenuous tour, so I want to get my energy level up. It's not just a 'religion' people even think it's kind of square. It's become part of the concert, because it's what keeps this 68-year-old body working and keeps the lungs putting out the sound. If I didn't work out, I don't think I'd be able to sing and play. You get out onstage and you can't be out of shape."
The author of and voice behind such songs as "Sundown," "If You Could Read My Mind," and "Carefree Highway," Mr. Lightfoot has five Grammy nominations and 17 Juno Awards in his native Canada. In fact, he's received the highest Canadian honor the Governor General's Award for his international efforts in spreading Canadian culture around the world. Mr. Lightfoot has also been commemorated on Canada's Walk of Fame as is a member of the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Peter, Paul and Mary, Jane's Addiction and Sarah McLachlan.
In 2003, a number of mostly Canadian artists got together to record Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot, which the singer-songwriter praises highly.
"I gave it 10 stars," he says. "It worked really well."
He thinks a new generation of folk musicians are discovering his music for a simple reason it's playable.
"When it comes to sitting down and learning some chords on the guitar, it's nice to have some of the folk stuff as an example," Mr. Lightfoot says. "They (the musicians) can figure out what I'm doing and learn something. They also get inspired to write songs. All you need to know are a few chords to write a song. And it's real simple first the chords, then the melody and then lyrics. Everyone should try songwriting, because if they have a real gift, it'll show up."
Mr. Lightfoot admits he's not listening to new music as much as he used to ("it all changes so quickly"), focusing instead on his own work, making it the best he possibly can.
"Since I've been ill, my priorities have changed," he says. "Family and music mean more now. Plus, I have a little enterprise going here that needs to be looked after, my staff and what not. It's quite an undertaking when you're going for the longevity factor in this business. But it's a great goal. Look at Willie Nelson he's a prime example of longevity at work. As long as you can play and the people want to come out, and you feel like you're doing a good show, and you believe in your material, and you enjoy doing it. You just carry on.
"I got started around the time of the folk revival in 1960 but my first album came out in 1965, so it's been a heckuva long run," Mr. Lightfoot continues. "I've made a total number of 20 albums I completed the last one when I was in the hospital. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride, with all the changes in music, but there are survivors and I'm part of that crew."
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:09 PM   #3
LSH
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That was interesting..thanks John... actually 'heard' him saying something a bit different in the interview...
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