Gordon Lightfoot at Macauley Theatre

By Scott Furlong

A great performance by the best singer-songwriter to ever come doen the pike. If you're not familiar with Gordon Lightfoot's work and didn't attend the concert April 12, then I would suggest you discover this man. Every tune he sang had his indelible stamp on it. It's trying to figure out where the feeling comes from that's the mystery.

Is it his knowledge of music (he studied composing and arranging for about two years) that allows him to structure his songs so well that they don't sound like formula? Is it his voice, at once recognizable, because it is placed so well within the sound? Or is it because he's managed to keep basically the same band together for about twenty years? I feel it must be his overall approach that makes Gordon Lightfoot a modern musicial enigma. Every song he's ever recorded is a gem. His music and style are uniquely his. He is in his own personal category. There is a handful of singer-songwriters who have touched that level. (Gordon has maintained and, I would assume, paced himself very well along the way.) His voice was resonant and his guitar style fluid. I feel all the emphasis of focus he places on the songs. He also plays his instrument to serve the song, as does his band.

His chord knowledge and choice of sound (recordings suggest a knowledge and awareness of his musical origins. (Check out his little footnotes on the sheet music of one of his songs.) Many of his songs, i.e., "Gord's Gold," were transcribed by Gordon himself. This information was brought to light by lead guitarist Terry Clements as I was waiting to interview Gordon backstage. The band got a kick out of me as I quoted a certain footnote. I'm not so sure I would have thought it funny, if I hadn't learned to play Travis-style guitar. Oh well, if you're getting lost, read the book!

I wish I could say that a great interview followed but meeting Gordon soon became just a personal conversation of sorts.

Karen Le Van confided to me that she saw a twinkle in Gordon's eye as I talked with him about this and that. I forgot to ask him if he's had time to do any fishing, however. There I go again. Lack of focus, I guess.

Anyway, back to music. I had told Karen before the show not to mention to Gordon that I played and wrote but she had to say I had some songs he might want to hear. I looked him in the eye and smiled. He looked me in the eye and stared.

"Do you suppose Gordon wants some songs of mine? I asked Ms. Le Van.

"I don't know, Scott," she said. "Can he read your mind?"

(A special thanks to Bill Ede for the book!)