New Music: Gordon Lightfoot — ‘Solo’

Gordon Lightfoot — Solo
Label: Rhino Records

Solo is Gordon Lightfoot’s first studio album since 2004. It is a spare songwriting tour de force and more than welcome during these introspective, pared down times.

Most of these songs were written and first recorded not long before Gordon Lightfoot suffered a debilitating aneurysm in 2002. Rediscovering them recently, he decided to reinterpret the songs as solos, and supported their simplicity by only playing his guitar. These songs are an opportunity to rediscover Lightfoot after all these years; they are what songs sound like at their birth. It is a generous gift for an artist to share.

Lightfoot’s vocals may be thinner than the tracks on his early career-establishing albums. Of course, those classics were recorded more than fifty years ago. What remains, stronger than ever, however, is the power of clarity in poetry, chronicling the insight of an accidental survivor. The 10 tracks find Lightfoot in a philosophical mood, à la “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” and evoke the inviting sound of his earliest works, such as “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Early Morning Rain.”

The album is a reminder that, while taking honest inventory of our lives, it is possible to admit that there are things for which to be grateful. Not to mention that the delivery of this message is just as good as a phone call from an old friend… and who couldn’t use that nowadays?

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