Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Music · Gordon Lightfoot is Alive and...
. . . .

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.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close