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Old 08-29-2003, 09:29 PM   #1
northernblues
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Billboard Magazine
September 06, 2003
Folk Vet Lightfoot Praises 'Beautiful' Tribute
BY LARRY LEBLANC


TORONTO - Canada's foremost folk troubadour of the past four decades
pronounces himself "delighted" about the upcoming album release "Beautiful—A Tribute
to Gordon Lightfoot."

"I love this tribute," Lightfoot tells Billboard in a rare interview. "Some
of the artists have outdone me on songs.

"There are so many great takes," he continues. "The performances are
energetic—and I appreciate it [being done]."

The 15-track album includes performances by such leading Canadian acts as
Bruce Cockburn, Ron Sexsmith, Cowboy Junkies, the Tragically Hip and Blackie &
the Rodeo Kings, as well as U.S. vocalist Maria Muldaur.

The album is a joint project between two Canadian independent labels,
Ottawa-based, blues-styled NorthernBlues Music and Toronto's folk-based Borealis
Recording Co. It will be released Oct. 7 in North America, distributed in Canada
by Festival Distribution in Vancouver and in the U.S. by Big Daddy Distribution
in Kenilworth, N.J.

Lightfoot, 64, has been quiet since being rushed to the hospital in August
2002 with an undisclosed stomach illness, just hours before he was to perform in
his hometown of Orillia, Ontario. Refraining from commenting on his
condition, Lightfoot says he is completing a new album, which will be issued
independently in early 2004.

"The timing is perfect to pay tribute to Gordon Lightfoot," says
NorthernBlues Music owner Fred Litwin, who came up with the album concept. "I'm delighted
with the album. I can't stop listening to it."

Borealis co-owner Grit Laskin adds, "We're thrilled with the record. We feel
like we've created a piece of Canadian history."

Lightfoot greatly influenced a generation of Canadian performers. Acts as
diverse as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Sarah McLachlan
and Jane's Addiction have recorded his compositions.

Tragically Hip bassist Gord Sinclair marvels at Lightfoot's career vision.
"He sets the standard for us Canadian musicians that have followed in his
footsteps. He's a breed that doesn't exist anymore."

Blue Rodeo singer/guitarist Greg Keelor agrees. "Talk about a great career.
He is such an amazing guitar player, and his enunciation is so beautiful."

Overseeing the tribute during the past year were Litwin, Laskin and his
Borealis partner Bill Garrett, plus producer/guitarist Colin Linden. Despite
Lightfoot's repertoire of more than 100 songs spread across some 19 albums, Linden
says it was often difficult to match artists to songs. "Gordon casts such a big
shadow," he explains. "It's hard for another singer/songwriter to do
something that wouldn't pale in comparison."

By choosing to cover Lightfoot's "Ribbon of Darkness," Cockburn says he had
to contend with both the artist's 1965 original and Robbins' version, which
topped the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart the same year.

"I wanted to do something different and still be respectful of the song,"
Cockburn says. "I played it on the baritone guitar, and it's more mournful than
Lightfoot's version."

Sinclair, however, says that picking Lightfoot's uncharacteristically
political song "Black Day in July" from 1968 (chronicling the aftermath of Detroit's
1967 race riots) was "an easy choice" for him. He explains, "When I was a
fourth-year student at Queen's University [in Kingston, Ontario] in 1984, I did a
term paper based on that song."

Seven songs on "Beautiful" are from Lightfoot's '60s folk period, in which he
recorded five albums for United Artists in the U.S. At the time, Lightfoot
worked extensively on the North American folk circuit, but his popularity was
primarily in Canada, where he was lionized by the media.

Among the early Lightfoot songs represented are "Canadian Railroad Trilogy"
(James Keelaghan), "The Way I Feel" (Cowboy Junkies), "For Lovin' Me" (Terry
Tufts) and "Home From the Forest" (Murray McLauchlan). Particularly noteworthy
are "Black Day in July" (the Tragically Hip) and "Go Go Round" (Blue Rodeo), as
Lightfoot has rarely performed them through the years.

"I love what Lightfoot did in the early days," Cockburn says. "He was finger
picking and doing the type of songs I hadn't heard other Canadians do. Plus he
had a vibe that was complete in itself and not part of a scene."

As the popularity of folk music waned in the late '60s, Lightfoot signed with
Reprise Records in 1970. During the course of the 14 albums he released on
the label until 1998, he moved toward an adult contemporary style. He also
scored hits with "If You Could Read My Mind" (covered on the tribute by Connie
Kaldor), "Sundown" (covered by Jesse Winchester) and "The Wreck of the Edmund
Fitzgerald."

Other Reprise-era songs that are featured are "Summer Side of Life" (Blackie
& the Rodeo Kings), "Song for a Winter's Night" (Quartette), "That Same Old
Obsession" (Muldaur), "Bend in the Water" (Harry Manx)" and "Drifters"
(Sexsmith). Additionally, there is one non-original, "Lightfoot," penned and performed
by Borealis singer/songwriter Aengus Finnan.

Lightfoot marvels at how deftly the tribute covers his career.

"It took Blue Rodeo to breathe life into 'Go Go Round,' " he jokes. "It's
also a wonderful performance of 'Canadian Railroad Trilogy,' [and] I like 'Bend
in the Water,' too. Quartette is just wonderful; another that knocked me out
was Bruce Cockburn. The Tragically Hip really went after 'Black Day in July'
with a lot of gusto."



© 2003 VNU eMedia Inc. All rights reserved. Terms Of Use and Privacy Policy.

Fred Litwin
NorthernBlues Music, Inc.
225 Sterling Road, Unit 19
Toronto, Ontario M6R 2B2
(416) 536-4892
FAX: (416) 536-1494 www.northernblues.com
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Old 08-30-2003, 11:09 AM   #2
formerlylavender
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northernblues, thanks for posting the article. Does anyone know which GL song Jane's Addiction covered?
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Old 08-30-2003, 02:04 PM   #3
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I've done a small amount of research to find out the Jane's Addiction cover but came up empty handed. If anyone knows please reply. Thanks, Ro
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Old 08-30-2003, 06:07 PM   #4
Auburn Annie
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According to Wayne Francis' site on Lightfoot covers at http://www.lightfoot.ca/covers.htm
Jane's Addiction covered "If You Could Read My Mind"

And did y'all catch the pertinent part of that interview? To wit:
"...Lightfoot says he is completing a new album, which will be issued independently in early 2004."

Yay!! I'm still in the running in the "pick the date" contest (01/08/04). And he's going independent!


[This message has been edited by Auburn Annie (edited August 30, 2003).]
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Old 08-30-2003, 09:59 PM   #5
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Annie, You seem to be able to find anything and everything on the net, I have a question on a cover that Gord supposedly did of Poco, I have not been able to find out what song that was. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-31-2003, 11:33 AM   #6
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Thanks anyway, Roseanna.
Thanks for the link, Auburn Annie.
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Old 08-31-2003, 01:54 PM   #7
Auburn Annie
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It was the other way around - Poco covered "Ribbon of Darkness" on the 1982 album COWBOYS AND ENGLISHMEN. BTW, Poco fans call themselves "Poconuts" <giggle>
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Old 08-31-2003, 07:30 PM   #8
BILLW
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Annie,

Just for the record: I consider Poco (at least the first 7 or 8 albums) to be on my essential list if I ever get banished to a desert island. And I am old enough to have seen the early lineup LIVE. Having said that I must state that I have never referred to myself as a "Poconut", LOL. I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Bill
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Old 08-31-2003, 07:35 PM   #9
Auburn Annie
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Well, BillW, I found the term on one of their fansites, so I expect it's not universal -- but cute.
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Old 09-01-2003, 05:39 AM   #10
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Well in that case I just might start using it, thanks.

Bill
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Old 09-02-2003, 05:35 AM   #11
BILLW
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Annie,

I know I'm going off topic here folks, forgive me. But just to put some closure here I must thank you. I am now a "registered" Poconut under the original name of BILLW. Thanks for the lead.

Bill
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Old 09-02-2003, 06:47 PM   #12
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Anybody notice that they got the month he was rushed to the hospital wrong? It was a year ago this month! As well as saying,"Song For A Winter's Night" was a Warner/Reprise era song! Anyway,I'm going to get myself a copy of Billboard! 40 cheers to Gordon for going independent!! Right on! Later!

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Borderstone - "Little 'Ol Message Maker Me!"

[This message has been edited by Borderstone (edited September 04, 2003).]
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