Gordon Lightfoot Working on First Album In 15 Years

Gordon Lightfoot
Photo courtesy Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot

Canadian singer-songwriting legend Gordon Lightfoot, a man whose songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand and more, is working on his first new album in 15 years.

"It's kind of philosophical and it's kind of funny,” Lightfoot says of his 21st album. “It's got a great beat and my arrangements are real good too. I write all my own arrangements for my band."

The still-untitled album is important to Lightfoot, best known for such hits as “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” and “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," because he didn't get to properly finish his last studio collection, 2004's Harmony, due to a near-fatal ruptured artery.

"Harmony was done by using just guitar and vocal tracks as a basic track. And it was stuff that I recorded a year before I became ill," he says. "So we looked way back in the file and we found a number of tunes I had recorded just using guitar and vocal. And the guys then overdubbed all their parts on the very last album. I wasn't actually able to complete that album in a professional way. The songs were good, but the production was not up to radio standard."

So the 80-year-old member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, who will hit the road March 4 in Sacramento, Calif., is eager to share new material with the world. Asked when the new album will be ready he says, "It's gonna take a year. It's there, but it will happen for sure because I already have the material."

After the illness last time though he is understandably cautious. "The one I'm working on right now, provided I don't fall again or get sick again, I will be able to carry through and produce it in a highly professional manner.  If I'm still walking around we'll finish it," he says laughing at the last part.

Lightfoot has reason to be optimistic his health will hold up fine to finish album No. 21 in his lengthy career. He has a regular exercise regime he has kept up since 1980. He credits that with a great part of his longevity.

His upbeat outlook plays a big part in the next album he says. "It's more of an optimistic point of view really. It's gonna be fun, it's gonna be an album where negativity is at the minimum and positivity prevails. I'm just trying to relate to your personal experience," he says. "You can find it on the ups and the downs and the roller coaster ride through life. And you relate it to your songs. This time I'm just going positive."

In addition to his fitness he credits his family with his outlook. In fact, Lightfoot chuckles at how much his songwriting has changed over the years. "I used to write a lot of songs about unrequited love. I have to laugh when I think about it," he says. "There's not too much of that. It's a little bit more advanced. My thinking has broadened out a little bit now. The love 'em and leave 'em is done. I'm much more serious. I have a very extended family. I have six children and five grandchildren.”

Gordon Lightfoot's 80 Years Strong 2019 tour dates:

March 4 -- Crest Theatre, Sacramento CA
March 5 -- City National Civic, San Jose, CA
March 6 -- Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA
March 8 -- The Canyon, Santa Clarita, CA
March 9 -- Saban Theater, Beverly Hills, CA
March 10 -- The Rose, Pasadena, CA
March 12 -- The Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
March 13 -- Balboa Theatre, San Diego, CA
March 15 & 16 -- Westgate Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
March 17 -- Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
April 3 -- Richmond Hill Center for The Performing Arts, Richmond HIll, ONT
April 5 & 6 -- Empire Theatre, Belleville, ONT
April 8 -- Talk Is Free Georgian Theatre, Barrie, ONT
April 9 -- Stockey Center for The Performing Arts, Parry Sound, ONT
April 11 & 12 -- Partridge Hall First Ontario Arts Center, St. catharines, ONT
April 13 -- The Meeting House, Oakville, ONT
April 15, 16 & 17 -- Living Arts Center, Mississauga, ONT
May  9    Red Bank, NJ,  Count Basie Theatre
May 10    Ithaca, NY,  State Theatre
May 11    Erie, PA, Warner Theatre
May 13    Alexandria, VA, Birchmere Theatre
May 14    Annapolis, MD, The Rams Head
May 15    New York, NY, Town Hall
May 17    Tarrytown, NY, Music Hall
May 18    Derry, NH, Tupelo Music Hall
May 19    Boston, MA, The Wilbur