Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lightfoot and Handel and Dylan

Just came across this in an article on Gordon Lightfoot.

"The music just seemed to roll out of me," Lightfoot said. "I'd sing at festivals, weddings, everything when I was young. Luckily, I had a teacher that showed me how to sing with emotion. He taught me to do so by having me sing songs from Handel's Messiah. He had me singing a lot of really serious religious music at one point just to see what I could do with it. I think that's what you're hearing there in a lot of my music."

His songs "Early Morning Rain" and "Four Strong Winds" were among the first I learned on the guitar and he performed at Duke when I was there, so I've always been familiar with his music, and somehow this really makes sense.

The other thing about his voice is that someone once asked Bob Dylan why he sang the way he did and his response was he was just trying to use what he had the best he could, but that if he could have someone's else's voice it would be Gordon Lightfoot's. 

update - later realized "Four Strong Winds" an Ian Tyson (Ian & Sylvia) composition. Joni Mitchell was another Canadian I listened to a lot back in the 60' and 70's. I remember an English professor talking about how much better recorded the folk music was than the classical records he listened to. Probably geezer nostalgia, but there seemed a much more human presence of the musicians, with the large album cover, analog vinyl sound, and the timbre of the voices and instruments than stuff you hear today, especially in the mp3 format. 

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