Saturday, November 8, 1997
Lightfoot a Canadian original
Singer talks about his award and career
By RICK OVERALL -- Ottawa Sun
Getting a Governor General's Performing Arts Award
hasn't gone to Gordon Lightfoot's head.
"I'm still not sure that I deserve it, because I look around at all
the exceptionally talented artists out there ... and I just don't
know," he said yesterday morning.
"But I guess you could certainly give it to me for dedication, I've
certainly been that over my career."
Dressed in a crisp doubled-breasted suit, the Canadian folk icon spent a
little time reflecting on his career, before heading over to Rideau Hall
yesterday afternoon, for the ceremony to honor the six 1997 recipients
of the Governor-General's awards.
"Actually, an award like this really acts as an incentive to work
even harder because the last thing you want people to think is that
because you've been presented the award that maybe you've hung up your
"Far from that, I've more commited to the music and touring than
On thinking a little more on the meaning of his career and the reasons
he may deserve the recognition, Lightfoot is adamant about his identity
as a Canadian.
"It's great to be in the position I'm currently in and have Canada
and the U.S. as a kind of base of operations to work from, but when I'm
out of the country I guess you could say I'm a good ambassador."
Lightfoot was one of the first Canadian music stars to stay in Canada
and develop his career, even as he was gaining recognition south of the
"Getting there (to the top) was definitely tough, but we had a
little luck on our side and thankfully having Peter, Paul & Mary
along with Ian & Sylvia, record my songs helped open the door."
Over the years, Lightfoot has been responsible for some of the most
adventurous writing in popular music, offering wordscapes that reflect
the essense of what this country is all about.
And after all these years of singing epics like The Wreck Of The Edmund
Fitzgerald and The Canadian Railroad Trilogy, those songs are still
among his favorites.
"Everytime I sing them, I find I can be moved by the same
excitement I had when the songs were written. You just never get tired
or bored with the music because there are always new ways of looking at
And, after all this time, Lightfoot, 58, says he has no intention of
"I find that I''ve got more time to devote to my music and my
family. I'm really excited about the fact that I've just completed a new
CD, which is my 19th.
"We've been playing one of the new songs, Ringneck Loon, in our
concerts and the reaction has been just wonderful."