The story is told by Gordon himself in the liner notes of Harmony: ³In early September of 2002 I was playing a two day event in my birthplace of Orillia, Ontario, when felled by an burst artery followed by total blackness. The fall tour was cancelled. When I awoke from that dark slumber a few weeks later, the hospital was already being prepped for Hallowe'en. Even the post operative discomfort had passed. My memory and my thinking felt pretty much normal as my mind recalled a day in the distant past when a muse would say, "don't spin your wheels". The problem right now was mechanical failure. After the visitations of family and friends had been accomplished and put into perspective, I started asking myself how I might go about picking up the slack in my current condition with a bloodshot eye on the future when bingo, I was back in the past, back to the music of course. It's the only real refuge I'd ever had anyway. I remembered months before, having recorded on multi-track, a considerable number of fresh songs, with guitar and vocal only, at two solo sessions in the recording studio. Perhaps my radar was telling me to get ready for a rainy day, I don't know. I remembered that quite a few of those performances had sounded reasonably valid at the time and wondered if they would hold up under scrutiny now, almost a year later. Thoughts about orchestration began entering my mind. We could pick out the best of the practice tracks and use them as basic tracks.²
Producer Bob Doidge and Gordon¹s band went to work on the recordings, overdubbing parts and bringing their work to Gordon in the hospital for his approval and changes. The result is Harmony. The title track is a truly haunting ballad, followed by the traveling tale of River Of Light. The first single Inspiration Lady is yet another inspiring ballad of love and adoration. The album ends on a song of hope and dreaming with the song Sometimes I Wish.
Harmony will be released May 11th, simultaneously in Canada on Linus/Warner and in the USA on SpinART/Ryko. Gordon just spent a day filming scenes for his new video Inspiration Lady which will be released to radio and television in March 2004. Following another round of reconstructive surgery, Gordon should be ready to continue touring again by the end of 2004.
Since emerging from the Toronto folk club scene in the early Œ60s, Gordon Lightfoot has recorded 19 albums (14 for Warner Bros. or Reprise Records). He has had five Grammy nominations and has won 17 Juno Awards in his native Canada. In 1970, in recognition of his contributions in furthering Canadian culture, he received the prestigious Order of Canada citation; in November 1997 he was presented the Governor General¹s Award‹the highest official Canadian honor, which is conferred on very few (Joni Mitchell is another) for their international efforts in spreading Canadian culture. Gordon was also honored as a charter member of Canada¹s Walk of Fame and most recently was elevated to the "companion" of the Order of Canada (highest level) in December. Gordon also was just inducted into The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
³Gordon Lightfoot, everytime I hear a song of his, it's like I wish it would last forever. "
"I don't think anybody before or since has had the impact on Canadian culture, through popular music or folk music, that Gordon Lightfoot has had."
"I've always been trying to write songs like Lightfoot. A song of mine like 'Come Monday' is a direct result of me trying to write a Gordon Lightfoot song."
"Canadian Railroad Trilogy is an extremely fine piece of songwriting. "
"Gordon Lightfoot looms pretty large in my life as a writer and an artist in general. I never travel anywhere without at least two of his records with me."
"Lightfoot's voice is such a part of the fabric of Canada, I know it almost as well as I know my own voice."
But besides his albums, Lightfoot has composed a catalog of classic hits‹for himself and varied others. The list of artists who have recorded Lightfoot¹s songs include Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jane¹s Addiction, Ian & Sylvia, Richie Havens, Glen Campbell, Anne Murray, Nana Mouskouri, , and George Hamilton IV.
Gordon sums up his thoughts about Harmony in the album liner notes: "In the final analysis, the job was what mattered. It was good being preoccupied in a very constructive way with a project in the works; one which would carry itself forward, right up through the artwork and editorial, until it's ultimate completion. A feeling of confidence was in the air. Meanwhile, the simple practice tracks had served us well, and for the first time ever, I had an opportunity to proceed with an album while lying on my back."