Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Mike Fornes as Gordon Lightfoot
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Mike Fornes as Gordon Lightfoot

Kristi Kates - August 23rd, 2010
Whispers of the North:Mike Fornes as Gordon Lightfoot
By Kristi Kates
While some tribute bands pay homage to big acts like Pink Floyd or The
Rolling Stones, a plethora of performers around the country choose a
solo artist to be the focus of their act. Mackinaw City
guitarist/singer Mike Fornes has chosen to perform the music of Gordon
Lightfoot, the Canadian performer perhaps best known in Michigan for
his Lake Superior-centric song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
Lightfoot’s music has become legendary in folk/pop music circles, and
Fornes - along with his band of backing musicians - pays careful
attention to every performance detail in order to do justice to
Lightfoot’s talents.

AUTHENTIC INSTRUMENTATION
Known for his work in journalism and sportscasting (“I have lived
several professional lifetimes in the broadcasting and journalistic
worlds,” he says. “Right now, the Lightfoot music project is my main
focus.”), Fornes sings in a voice of similar timbre to Lightfoot’s,
and he purposefully plays similar instruments.
“I play Gord’s Gibson B-45 12-string and the Martin D-18 that he
uses,” Fornes explains, “and Todd Golnick’s lead guitars are a Martin
and a Gretsch Country Gentleman, just like Terry Clements plays in the
Lightfoot Band. We have the same amps and effects too. All of us use
authentic instruments in order to create the sounds of a Lightfoot
concert.”
The instrumentation, Fornes believes, helps the show stay as true as
possible to Lightfoot’s original recordings. In addition to Golnick,
Fornes’ sidemen include George Krawczyk on keyboards, John Riemer on
bass, and Joe Kwiatkowski on drums and special effects, augmenting his
drum kit with percussion instruments for various songs.

IDENTIFIABLE MUSIC
Fornes himself got his first guitar in the fifth grade, he says, and
“loved The Beatles.”
“I learned to sing in church, and in school choirs and performing
groups,” he says.
Those formative years would prove useful later in his life, when he
began putting together the replication of a two-hour concert of
Lightfoot songs that would resonate especially well with Michigan
audiences.
“This is music from our culture, our way of life,” he explains.
His Lightfoot playlist is set to include such classics as “Carefree
Highway,” “Sundown,” and, of course, “... Fitzgerald.”
“I think you have to play the big songs,” he says, “especially that
song. It happened less than 100 miles from where we’re from, and
anybody who has ever heard that song identified it with storms they
have seen here, and what happened on that horrible night. But there
will be some surprises, too - some other great music Gordon wrote that
I think people will really enjoy.”

CAPTURING A LEGEND
Lightfoot’s music, Fornes says, “connects with a lot of people,” and
he sees a lot of emotional reactions, from hand-holding to sheer
attentiveness, at his performances “as” Lightfoot.
“I think our show is simply an honest effort at recreating the
Lightfoot concert experience,” he says, “his music is about the
forests and lakes and ships, and a lot of it is about broken hearts
and lost loves, as well.”
If you couldn’t already tell, Fornes is a respectful fan as well as a
tribute performer.
“We’re in awe of the man’s songwriting and performing abilities,”
Fornes says, “we’ve worked very hard at capturing the acoustic
presence his music brings to a theater.”
For Fornes’ upcoming Lightfoot show at Ground Zero in Traverse City,
the venue will be setting a more folky, quiet mood to suit Lightfoot’s
introspective tunes and acoustically-focused sound.
“I think Traverse City is a great place to present this music, with
all the woods and lakes nearby,” Fornes says, “and Streeters will be a
wonderful venue, as they are planning a cabaret-style floor plan for
the show with tables and chairs. It will be a fun night together, with
friends.”

Mike Fornes’ Whispers of the North, Gordon Lightfoot Tribute will take
place Friday, August 27 at Ground Zero in Traverse City, with a
pre-show “Deep into Dylan” tribute by Acoustic Dynamite. Evening is
presented by Oldies 97.5 WCCW. All seats for the 8 p.m. show are on
sale at the Ground Zero box office for $10/$12 day of show; call
231-932-1300 for more info, or buy tickets online at
http://groundzeroonline.com/buytickets.asp.

 
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