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Old 09-09-2011, 08:38 AM   #1
charlene
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Default Lowell MA interview

http://www.wickedlocal.com/acton/fun...#axzz1XSSsc0ZN

..Gordon Lightfoot brings legendary sound to Lowell.Zoom Photos. Courtesy photo.Gordon Lightfoot performs at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium Sunday, Sept. 11.

By Margaret Smith/msmith@wickedlocal.com
GateHouse News Service
Posted Sep 08, 2011 @ 10:14 PM

Lowell — From the ghosts of whaling vessels around torrid Cape Horn – to the more recent shipwreck tragedy of the S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald, on Lake Superior – both are the signature sound of Canadian songwriter and singer Gordon Lightfoot.

His songs speak of adventures on the open sea and the open road, but also of more personal, introspective glimpses into losses and relationships, as in the hits “Rainy Day People” and “If You Could Read My Mind.”

Along the way, he has cast traditional folk sentiments into strong, contemporary folk ballads that won him a loyal audience for more than 50 years across the popular music spectrum.

Early on in his career, his songs, “For Lovin' Me” and “Early Morning Rain” became hits for Peter, Paul And Mary; but for decades he has cultivate his presence as a song writer and a performer in his own right.

Lightfoot, 72, will perform at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium Sunday, Sept. 11.

Recently, he reflected on his long musical journey, the recent death of his long-time friend and guitarist Terry Clements, how grief makes its way into lyrics and melody, and how a performer stays strong to look to the road ahead.

Please tell me what you have planned for this show.

Well, we have our concert, of course, that has all the very well known material, and it also has a great deal of good, solid support material.

To put it in plain English, we will do all the hits and will be supported by the best of our albums throughout the years. I have 20 albums, so we do the best, and it seems to be working. We do the best songs that can be done before an audience, songs in which I have complete faith -- that describes my show.

We start on time. We don’t have an opening act.

What are songs in which you have complete faith?

These are 14 karat gold. We have so much material. We have about eight or nine songs in rotation. [Lightfoot cites “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald,” “Carefree Highway,” “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Baby Step Back” among them.]

You recently lost your lead guitarist of many years, Terry Clements [who passed away last February; Carter Lancaster is the new guitarist for Lightfoot’s band.] How did that affect you personally as well as plans for the tour?

I was very saddened by it. He was a wonderful person and he taught me a lot of stuff about guitar playing. I felt really bad about him and we all loved him so much.

Not only was he a great guitar player but he was a nice person to be around…he had a wife and a couple of daughters, a family man. It was a big loss, a major wallop, like we say in these days.

What is one your favorite memories of him?

There was the time he fell into the water in Seattle, while fishing off the dock of a hotel. He loved to fish.

Please tell me about your new guitar player, Carter Lancaster.

I had to find a new lead guitar player, so I found Carter Lancaster. He is the new lead guitar player. I got him through our recording engineer, and he recommended him to us. He’s a great little guy.

There must be some differences. What differences does he bring to the band?

He is way different. They are not anything alike at all. I already have these guys playing 14 shows…we are doing another 42 in the fall.

The greatest difference is that he has got a different sound. He looks different. But he has the same quality Carter had -- absolute pitch on his instruments, never out of tune. Terry was never out of tune, either. No one of us ever wants out of tune.

He’s smart, and has a wife and two grownup children. One is 19 and the other 21. His wife is a nurse. He has good conduct, doesn’t drink, has the odd cigarette. He is a professional, and he plays well. I don’t think the audience will be disappointed.

After so many years are there songs you would prefer to retire? Many musicians say it’s hard to balance the need to explore new material with the audience demand for the much-loved favorites.

Some of this stuff will seem a little bit obscure, perhaps, but I still have complete faith in them, though, and they are good songs that go over with the audience, that cause a response and a communication factor kicks in. It’s rare, and you only get one or two of them on an album,

If it comes to that point, and we do field requests form the audience, there is a chance we will do that song as the program goes. If it’s not in the program, if find away to fit into the set, and I have to work that out, mentally, as I go along.

You don’t keep people sitting there for three hours. You have to keep it very tight. If there is a really special they want to hear, you gotta find a way to put it in there on the fly.

There is one woman in Chicago, who always requests, “Pony Man.” One man wanted “Cotton Jenny.” I ran up the stairs to get the 12-string guitar…I burst an artery [in 2002]. It took me 28 months to get better.

All for this one guy. He was driving me nuts. He wouldn’t stop asking for “Cotton Jenny.”

Are there songs you feel closer to – more affinity, more enjoyment – and others that have more professional distance for you?

When it comes to the good ones, “Sundown,” “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” to me these are the best. “If You Could Read My Mind” is a very romantic love song, about the roller coaster of life. It’s really about the breakup of a marriage, which was going through.

You meet with family members of the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald when time allows. Do they ever have mixed feelings about the song? [The song, a tribute to the crew of a freighter that sank on Lake Superior in November 1975, was a hit for Lightfoot in 1976. He became involved in causes for historic preservation on behalf of the Fitzgerald and maritime shipwreck history on the Great Lakes.]

They like the song. I have had very few negative comments about it.

The biggest question in recent years is, was it is a faulty hatch that caused the ship to sink? A TV special on History proved it wasn’t the hatch. [Lightfoot said he has changed a line in the song to keep with new information about the sinking’s possible causes.]

I wondered at the time [of the song’s release in 1976] what a few people might think. No one knew was going to become a hit record. It was meant to be a folk song for an album, and then it became a hit single.

I am sure it prolonged my career, and I was painfully aware of that in many ways, but learned to deal with that time to time. Their misfortune was my gain, and that bothered me a lot, I am a conscientious person.

The women formed a group in Madison, Wisc. – two mothers and two daughters. Recently, someone wanted the song for an iMax film. I called [the women] and asked them if it was okay. I consult them on everything like that which comes up.

You first built up your fame when many Canadian artists had a hard time doing that without emigrating. How do you feel that has affected you?

Eventually we had to start applying for work permits. We have done the whole thing just applying for work permits. I never had a green card. A couple of our guys were Americans. It’s like it really wasn’t a problem.

Fortunately for me, one of my songs was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and became associated with their management company.

That’s why so many people [from Canada] moved down there, because it was hard to get work permits.

Since then it seems it has become easier for Canadian artists to get a toehold; Rush maybe is the most notable example.

I love them. They’re great. I know Geddy [Geddy Lee, Rush lead vocalist and bassist] very well. In terms of acceptance, I think that the American side has kind of an appetite for Canadian talent. We are cousins in a certain kind of way.

Are there things that are harder to do now as a performer? Do you feel your health choices in the past have influenced that?

I had a mini stroke in 2006, and I couldn’t use my right arm. No, I’m ready. I’m prepared…I go in [to the gym] every day and prepare. We’re back to training again, and that is my secret. It keeps the lungs going strong, and keeps the singing good. I’m 72, and we’re not getting any younger.

I stopped drinking in 1982.

Many performers with a long career tell me they are simply grateful they can still perform and live well enough from their music. What would you like your legacy to be?

I would like to be known as a person who was kind to others.

If you go

WHAT Gordon Lightfoot in concert

WHEN Sunday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m.

WHERE Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 East Merrimack St., Lowell

TICKETS $65/$50/$40

MORE INFO Call 978-454-2299 or visit www.lowellauditorium.com

Copyright 2011 The Beacon. Some rights reserved ..

Read more: Gordon Lightfoot brings legendary sound to Lowell - Acton, MA - The Beacon http://www.wickedlocal.com/acton/arc...#ixzz1XSTBc74y
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
David
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Default Re: Lowell MA interview

Thanks once again for an insightful article! Gord gives a great interview.

(Mind you, the authour/writer has some grammar issues...)
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lowell MA interview

Just to set the record straight, Carter's wife is a lovely (in every sense of the word!) doctor. Not a nurse.
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:56 AM   #4
GJA
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Default Springfield IL article

I just found this article in the State Journal Register published the day after the one Char posted!

http://www.sj-r.com/mysource/enterta...-the-open-seas
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:23 PM   #5
Tim
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Excellent article, Gloria and Char. Thanks for posting.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:50 PM   #6
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Very nice. Thanks for sharing!

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Springfield IL article

There is one woman in Chicago who always requests, “Pony Man.” One man wanted “Cotton Jenny.” I ran up the stairs to get the 12-string guitar … I burst an artery [in 2002]. It took me 28 months to get better. All for this one guy. He was driving me nuts. He wouldn’t stop asking for “Cotton Jenny.”


This is a very interesting quote. I don't know if this is all one answer or they cobbled some quotes together. Did the guy requesting Cotton Jenny cause Gord to run up the stairs, burst an artery and be disabled and nearly killed? I seem to recall the medical emergency happened before a show in Orillia so is this HOW it actually happened? Does anyone know?

Steve

Last edited by imported_Ordinary_Man; 09-16-2011 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:20 PM   #8
fezo
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Default Re: Springfield IL article

Boy, I don't know but in my book if you are going to put your life on the line for one song that ain't the one......

Of course he didn't know at the time that's what was happening....
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imported_Ordinary_Man View Post
There is one woman in Chicago who always requests, “Pony Man.” One man wanted “Cotton Jenny.” I ran up the stairs to get the 12-string guitar … I burst an artery [in 2002]. It took me 28 months to get better. All for this one guy. He was driving me nuts. He wouldn’t stop asking for “Cotton Jenny.”


This is a very interesting quote. I don't know if this is all one answer or they cobbled some quotes together. Did the guy requesting Cotton Jenny cause Gord to run up the stairs, burst an artery and be disabled and nearly killed? I seem to recall the medical emergency happened before a show in Orillia so is this HOW it actually happened? Does anyone know?

Steve
I wondered the same thing! If only our man would write a book.
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