Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Music · Gordon Lightfoot is Alive and...
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Gordon Lightfoot is Alive and Well, Thank You Very Much

News of his untimely death has not diminished Gordon Lightfoot’s musical mojo.

Ross Boissoneau - June 16th, 2014  

Revered as one of Canada’s greatest songwriters, Gordon Lightfoot says performing onstage is still his greatest joy as an artist.

“I’ve always been a performer at heart,” the 75-year-old guitarist said. “I started out as a performer.”

In 2010, however, word spread that Lightfoot had died, a rumor he denies to this day.

“I had two health issues, and then they thought I was dead,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot was listening to radio while driving home from a dental appointment, and was surprised to hear about his death. It stemmed from a report on Twitter. He famously called the radio station he heard it on to allay the rumors.

He’s still going strong in spite of what they said, and is coming to Interlochen on June 18 to prove it.

Influenced by composer Stephen Foster and such artists as Pete Seeger and the Weavers, Lightfoot studied jazz composition and orchestration in his youth.

It was his songs that first gained him notice. Canadian folk-rock duo Ian and Sylvia added his material to their repertoire in the mid-60s. The folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary enjoyed hits with his tunes “Early Morning Rain” and “For Lovin’ Me,” while Marty Robbins topped the country charts with Lightfoot’s “Ribbon of Darkness.”

His debut recording, “Lightfoot!,” was released in 1966, and featured his own versions of “Early Mornin’ Rain,” “The Way I Feel,” and “Ribbon of Darkness,” as well as other originals and songs by Phil Ochs (“Changes”) and Ewan McColl (“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”).

In the decades since, he’s recorded more than 20 albums and performed countless concerts across his native country, the U.S., and abroad.

Lightfoot has a special connection to this area. He’s performed previously at Interlochen, and also supports a scholarship at Northwestern Michigan College for its maritime program.

“I have a commitment there to the maritime academy,” he said. “I’ve had a scholarship there since 1977.”

He says Interlochen’s ambience keeps him coming back to the area.

“Interlochen has a wonderful amphitheater,” he said. “You can tune your guitar while you look across the lake.”

In the past 12 years, Lightfoot has not had it easy with regard to his health. In 2002 he suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which led to a six-week coma, a tracheotomy and several operations.

After recovering from that, he suffered a stroke while performing. It paralyzed two fingers of his right hand. Through physical therapy and continued exercise, he’s regained most of the use of the fingers and still plays guitar in performance.

“I had to find a new neural pathway. I never practiced as much as I did then [to recover],” he said. “Eventually I got back to 96 or 97 percent.”

Lightfoot says his shows draw from all facets of his career, and the diversity of the material keeps the concerts interesting for both performer and audience.

“It’s all different keys, different tempos,” he said. “Everything I’ve written is so different.”

Lightfoot says that diversity is a gift, something he isn’t conscious of doing when writing.

“There are only three or four songs that replicate one another,” he said.

While most every show features hits like “If You Could Read My Mind,” “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Sundown,” Lightfoot says he never tires of performing such familiar favorites. “I always do the songs a little bit differently,” he said. “There’s no such thing as getting tired of them.”

Nor, apparently, is there such a thing as retirement. The Interlochen show is the initial performance on a 10-date Midwest tour which concludes the end of the month. In July, he goes out again, this time out East, then finishes up the summer with a 14-show trip out West. In the fall, he’ll travel across his native country from mid-October through the end of November.

Lightfoot never anticipated the longevity of his songs or his career.

“‘Sundown’ is still getting airplay,” he said. “When I was 35, I thought what the heck am I going to be doing.”

Now, 40 years later, he knows. “I want to work while the sun shines,” he said.

Gordon Lightfoot takes the stage Wed., June 18 at 8pm in Kresge Auditorium. For tickets or more information, visit Interlochen.org.

 
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