Gordon Lightfoot talks about the story behind "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and what he would write another 7-minute epic song about.
Gordon Lightfoot talks about the first song he wrote at age 17, which was inspired by the hulla-hoop craze of the 1950s.
With a career spanning more than 45 years, Gordon Lightfoot has had a long time to make a name for himself.
But it took a trio of other names — Peter, Paul and Mary — to give the 69-year-old Canadian folk singer/songwriter’s career the boost it needed, he said.
“(Their cover of) ‘For Loving Me’ went up quite high on the charts ... and got my career started down in the States,” he said. “When (they) recorded that song, they actually started my career.”
It often seems that praise for Lightfoot comes from his peers as often as from critics and fans.
Bob Dylan is quoted as saying of Lightfoot’s work, “Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever.” Johnny Cash referred to Lightfoot’s 1967 single “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” an epic of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, as “an extremely fine piece of songwriting.”
Wednesday, Lightfoot will perform renditions from a 20-album discography spanning multiple decades when he takes the stage at the Tivoli Theatre.
Since suffering a burst artery in 2002 that prevented him from performing for 28 months, Lightfoot said his songwriting has strayed from sprawling epics such as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” he wrote earlier in his career. Now, his writing is more focused on songs that are “more entertaining,” he said.
“There are a lot more toe-tappers now than before. It’s not all ballads. There’s a lot of good beat material in my show.”
Still, Lightfoot hasn’t forgotten the songs that garnered him attention south of the border. Fans of his classics should be well satisfied when they leave the Tivoli, he said.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...