Fri, Apr 25, 2014.
There are stars in music, and then there are some that must be considered royalty. Gordon Lightfoot might be above even that. Even Neil Young is acknowledging that these days, as he has covered two Lightfoot gems on his upcoming personal favourites album, A Letter Home (If You Could Read My Mind, Early Morning Rain). Other lesser lights such as Dylan and Springsteen just rate one cover.
But why not hear the originator do those tunes? Lightfoot appearances are getting rarer, especially in these parts, but at age 75 he stills put on a show that satisfies old and new fans. And yes, there are always lots of new fans, as Canadian youth are quick to pick up on this touchstone songwriting that has informed all our artists since then. Blue Rodeo was born from an idea Greg Keelor had while listening to Gord's Gold on his Walkman while struggling away in a New Wave band in New York. Everyone from David Myles to k.d. lang sing his praises and songs.
Speaking of Myles, he and Lightfoot share a common bond. They both like raising awareness and funds for New Brunswick food banks. Myles does it every Christmas, and now Lightfoot is doing it this tour at his three provincial shows. And the kicker is, if you donate, you may win a special prize at the show, a backstage chat with the man himself. Here's how it works: Foodbanks in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton are collecting cash donations as you enter the concert. Volunteers will be on site, and you'll get a numbered ticket with your donation. Just before the show, your charming MC will announce who the winner is. Because the show is being presented by CBC Music, those genial folk will be CBC Moncton's Jonna Brewer at Casino New Brunswick, CBC TV's Harry Forestell at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, and CBC Fredericton's Terry Seguin at the Richard J. Currie Centre on the UNB Campus.
After the show, you and a guest will be whisked away for a backstage chat with Mr. Lightfoot, and from personal experience I can tell you he's a charming fellow, down to earth and humble. And if you don't win, gosh, you just get to enjoy two hours of the best Canadian music ever created.
The Moncton show is Friday, May 2 at Casino New Brunswick, in support of Moncton Food Depot Alimentaire. In Saint John, the May 3 show at the Imperial supports the Community Food Basket. And Fredericton's is Sunday, May 4 at the Currie Centre, with the volunteers collection for the Fredericton Food Bank.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).