Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

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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