2019 interview: Gordon Lightfoot joyful to nonetheless be performing



The next article was initially printed on Might 22, 2019.

Gordon Lightfoot could also be 80 years outdated (5 years older than Mick Jagger!), however he’s bought a brand new album within the works and 40 tour dates in Canada and the U.S. this 12 months. He has to maintain transferring; his followers have been following him for many years.

“They’re about 10 years behind,” he says, stress-free in his residence in Toronto’s ritzy Bridle Path neighbourhood, and quickly out of the limelight. “It’s all the time been that approach; after I was 28, they have been 18.”

He does the maths. “I cowl about 60 years; a few generations, I suppose.”

What retains him at it? “I really like the work,” he says merely. “I’m nonetheless doing it, and I’m so joyful I’m nonetheless doing it. All people’s bought that mindset. I like to remain sizzling.”

Lightfoot is flanked by Joan Tosoni and Martha Kehoe, co-directors of the documentary

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Might Learn My Thoughts

, which premiered on the Sizzling Docs Competition in Toronto this 12 months, and begins its common theatrical rollout on Might 24.

Their historical past with the singer-songwriter goes again to the ’90s, after they did a section on him for a doc known as

Nation Gold.

They later labored with him on the Junos – he’s received 16 in his profession, and in addition carried out at numerous ceremonies. So when the notion of creating a feature-length doc about him got here up, so did they.

“Joannie and I simply saved hanging round,” Kehoe explains with a smile. Lightfoot is extra direct: “I think about their capability.”

The doc covers the ups and downs of Lightfoot’s life, together with his three marriages, six youngsters, alcoholism and sobriety, and the aneurysm in 2002 that just about took his life, leaving him in a coma.

“I awoke from that listening to ‘Minstral of the Daybreak,’” he says, referring to one in all his 1970 hits. ”For six weeks, I used to be unconscious, and my sister was getting them to play stuff to see if it might jog my mind sufficient to wake me up.” Seems Lightfoot can increase Lightfoot.

The documentary additionally reminds viewers simply what number of musicians have coated his songs. A partial listing consists of Neil Younger, Liza Minelli, Herb Albert, Olivia Newton-John, Johnny Money, Dwight Yoakam, Don McLean, Petula Clark, Glen Campbell, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Judy Collins, Elvis Presley, Diana Krall, Sarah McLachlan and Peter Paul & Mary. However not Frank Sinatra.

“Sinatra tried ‘If You Might Learn My Thoughts’ and ended up throwing the music on the ground,” he remembers. “He mentioned, ‘I can’t do that.’”

The brand new album — he’s nonetheless tinkering with the format, however says it would simply be him and a guitar, akin to Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 album


— will embrace some new songs in addition to some older materials that has by no means been launched.

“I’ve stuff that I wrote a very long time in the past that I’m on the point of use proper now,” he says fortunately. “It was misplaced and I discovered it. I discovered it after I was cleansing out my workplace at some point. As unusual as it might sound.”

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