Gordon Lightfoot: A raspy old troubadour sings in the twilight


Richard Lutz takes a pew for Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot.

It wasn’t until singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot delivered his most well-known song If You Could Read My Mind that this show at Birminghan’s Symphony Hall started to burn a tad brighter.

The 77 year old musician has a partially shot voice, half bee buzzing in a jar, half raspy whisper. He looked under the weather and a bit tired. But who wouldn’t in the eighth decade of life and touring night after night?

But the man has form – half a century in the business and songs like Early Morning Rain that have been covered by Dylan, Elvis and Judy Collins. He also has a sharp sense of humour. “Rumours of my death are greatly exaggerated,” he confided as he referred to a recent Twitter error that he had died.

With his range limited and heading for the twilight of his career, he needed able backup from his four piece band and that helped pick up the show. But he still carries a bittersweet charm that has helped pay the mortgage for five decades and, on this day, fill such a big hall.

Songs were shortened to take in the breadth of his songwriting career or maybe help him get through his voluminous work in one piece. But he can still pick a tune or two. And at 77, though showing his age, he is still quite the troubadour as he continues his UK tour with that raspy voice, that back catalogue and, from what I saw, a keen following.

4 thoughts on “Gordon Lightfoot: A raspy old troubadour sings in the twilight

  1. here in Toronto I take my pew in the ”Church of Gord” – aka Massey Hall…

  2. Heartbreaking to see and hear such a legend brought so low. We almost left at the interval as I was dreading hearing his most famous songs but stayed and were glad. The audience was respectful and gave him a great reception and send off although for us it was a bittersweet experience.

    • He really shouldn’t be performing live any more. It’s embarrassing and bloody expensive! Diction poor, vocal range poor, all the same plodding tempo. £47.50 a seat. I wonder if he knows how long it takes some of us to earn that amount. Who do I contact for a refund?

  3. I attended The Albert Hall to see Gordon Lightfoot for probably the last time in London at least. I count it a privilege to have seen and heard him perform his distinctive and poetic works along with such able assistance from his great ba cling musicians. Terry Clements and Red Shea would have approved!!
    I hope GL returns to Canada with some good memories of his UK tour uninfluenced by some negative comments from soulless people .
    Thank you Gordon Lightfoot for giving us such musical pleasure.
    David McSorley. Penn . Bucks

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