Folk icon books Sudbury Arena show for Nov. 10
It was like finding the lost songs years after a beloved artist has moved to the afterlife.
But this superstar is not only still with us, but he is also the one who found the material.
“I was pretty surprised,” Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, who has a concert lined up at the Sudbury Area for Nov. 10, said with a giant smile.
Like a lot of gold strikes, this nugget was discovered by accident.
“I had 40 years of gifts that had been sent to me piled up in my office that I had decided to sort out,” the legendary musician said. “It was in that pile I came across this CD under the gifts.”
When he listened, he knew it was him singing.
“But I didn’t remember recording any of it,” he said. “Maybe it was memory loss from the anesthesia from my surgery. But after a while, I started to remember what happened.”
He had recorded 19 new compositions written between 1999 and 2002 with just vocals and guitar.
“I was thinking of re-doing them all,” he said.
He put the CD down and it disappeared.
“I got sick and was out of the game for 28 months,” said Lightfoot, referring to his ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.
He very easily could have died, but he defied the odds.
His comeback is the stuff of legend – having toured extensively since.
Gord released his 20th album Harmony in 2004 – some tracks he helped arrange from his hospital bed.
“I thought that would be my last album,” said Lightfoot.
Then along came this discovery with a classic Lightfoot sound from his Juno and Grammy nomination days.
He also wrote some new ones too – one called Easy Flo is on the record.
“I thought about doing them with full orchestration,” said Lightfoot. “We tried it but I really didn’t like the way it was sounding.”
Fortunately, before he put the CD back under a pile to be lost again, wife Kim said she loved what she heard, and so did the folks at Warner Brothers.
“Kim is so supportive and Warner Brothers is a terrific company,” he said. “I have done 14 albums for them and they have always backed me.”
Warner Brothers understood what they had: Raw, real, pure, rich, powerful, authentic Lightfoot.
“Suddenly they were talking about a 21st album,” said Lightfoot.
That album, Solo, will be released on March 20.
“It’s like Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska album,” said Lightfoot. “I loved that record that Bruce did solo.”
He may even send The Boss this one.
“I am proud of it,” said Lightfoot. “I was at my full strength both singing and playing guitar.”
The first single, Oh So Sweet, has already dropped on social media – a beautiful song that has the same gravitas as Rainy Day People and If You Could Read My Mind.
“The first release portrays a very promising upcoming album,” said musician Tony Gosgnach, who often performs Lightfoot songs as Tony G in his repertoire. “Gordon’s classic rapid finger-picking style is there, coupled with his strong, inimitable vocal. The vocal melody moves in deliciously interesting directions.
It’s also intriguing to hear Gordon’s singing and playing without the overlay of other instrumentation.
This song’s a winner!” Photographer Craig Robertson and I got to listen to other tracks, which all sound amazing.
It was also great to see Gord so happy, looking healthy after a serious leg injury at his gym last year.
Next week he heads out on his first of several 2020 tours in both the United States and Canada.
One Toronto-area stop will be at Casino Rama on April 18.
But the big buzz is Lightfoot’s new album, which has his fans chomping at the bit.
“I was very excited to hear that a new album of original material was forthcoming,” said Gosgnach. “We had resigned ourselves to just enjoying his live shows, so this is a welcome treat.”
Who knows, perhaps the Juno and Grammy judges will take notice of this recently unearthed musical treasure.
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If you go
Folk icon Gordon Lightfoot is taking the Carefree Highway back to Sudbury.
The 16-time Juno winner plays the Sudbury Arena on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. His performance comes on the 45th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Lightfoot’s song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, appeared on his Summertime Dream album. The Fitzgerald is the largest ship to sink on the Great Lakes.
Tickets range from $69 to $129 are on sale at the Sudbury Arena Box Office (240 Elgin St.), online at www.greatersudbury.ca/tickets, and by
telephone at 705-671-3000.
Other fall dates include stops in Thunder Bay on Nov. 7 and Sault Ste. Marie on Nov. 9.