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Cherry Pop

Title - Ladies Sing Lightfoot
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, Ladies Sing Lightfoot (out November 26th, 2021 via indie label Have Harmony, Will Travel), is an album of 14 newly recorded Gordon Lightfoot songs produced by Carla Olson and performed by a variety of female artists.

Lightfoot is widely acknowledged as Canada’s greatest and most covered songwriter. Among the countless artists who have recorded his compositions are Harry Belafonte, Blue Rodeo, Glen Campbell, Eva Cassidy, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, Ian & Sylvia, the Kingston Trio, Mark Lindsay, Johnny Mathis, Nana Mouskouri, Olivia Newton-John, Elvis Presley, Tony Rice, Jeannie C. Riley, Barbra Streisand, Scott Walker, Don Williams and Jesse Winchester.

The idea of recording an album of Gordon Lightfoot songs performed by female artists has been percolating for a few years – a prospect that only made sense considering Bob Dylan’s comment, “Every time I hear a song of his, I wish it would last forever.”

Producer Carla Olson decided that the time was right to pursue this concept so she developed a list of artists she thought would be appropriate.

While she already knew some of the performers she had in mind, there were some she hadn’t previously met. A few of the artists asked for Lightfoot song suggestions but most already had favorites and inquired if the one they wanted to record had been chosen by another.

1. Sundown (Darling West)
2. Cotton Jenny (The Kennedys)
3. Steel Rail Blues (Natalie Noone)
4. Summer Side of Life (Shawn Barton Vach)
5. River of Light (Arwen Lewis)
6. Early Morning Rain (The Textones)
7. If You Could Read My Mind (Susan Cowsill)
8. The Way I Feel (IIsley Juber)
9. Beautiful (Ana Gazzola)
10. Canadian Railroad Trilogy (Katy Moffatt)
11. Cold on the Shoulder (Sarah Kramer)
12. Song for a Winter’s Night (Kristi Callan)
13. Carefree Highway (Shayna Adler(
14. Ringneck Loon (Carla Olson)

This beautifully affluent new compilation album of songs, now told through a whole new artistic curve, opens on the Norwegian duo Darling West delivering a truly beautifully upbeat, cosmic folk version of Sundown and then the fan favorite Cotton Jenny (The Kennedys) is brought forth and is itself backed by the rhythmic bars of Steel Rail Blues (Natalie Noone, daughter of Peter Noone, Herman’s Hermits) and a rather hauntingly-imbibed Summer Side of Life (by Shawn Barton Vach, formerly a member of New Mexico’s Hazeldine).

Next up is the quietly melodic folk-pop bounce of River Of Light by Arwen Lewis, and which features her father, Peter Lewis of Moby Grape, on guitar and then we get the guitar-laden Early Morning Rain brought forth from producer Carla Olson’s recently reunited Textones, which is in turn followed seamlessly by Susan Cowsill’s (of the Cowsills and the Continental Drifters) dulcet rendering of If You Could Read My Mind, the atmospherically-charged gossamer of The Way I Feel (by IIsley Juber, who is also accompanied here by her father, Laurence Juber of Paul McCartney and Wings), and then a delightfully tender Beautiful by Ana (of Brasil Brazil).

Next comes one of my own personal favorites, and one of Lightfoot’s lengthy masterworks, performed here by Katy Moffatt, Canadian Railroad Trilogy and that is backed by the foot-tapper Cold on the Shoulder (Sarah Kramer), the achingly earnest Song for a Winter’s Night (by Kristi Callan of Wednesday Week, L.A’s seminal paisley underground pop band), the album rounding out with Carefree Highway by Americana artist Shayna Adler, closing on the artfully-conscribed Ringneck Loon (from Carla and Todd Wolfe).

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