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PODCAST: B.C.’s John McLachlan sings the songs of Gordon Lightfoot

TODAY IN B.C.: Podcast features stories and nine Lightfoot songs

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Host Peter McCully chats with folksinger/songwriter John McLachlan, who has recorded four albums of Gordon Lightfoot music and performs a tribute show as well.

McLachlan says he was introduced to the music of Lightfoot at an early age.

“I was in Grade 4, and Ms. Dolan, the student teacher, brought a Gordon Lightfoot album to school and she played the ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’. I just was captivated by its story. It told an awful lot about the workers, which I thought was a neat thing about it,” said McLachlan.

The podcast includes nine Lightfoot songs as sung by McLachlan, including ‘Summer Side of Life,’ a topical song about the Vietnam War and the young men in the summer of their youth.

“I found it a really evocative song to do, all these years later as an adult,” said McLachlan. “It has a very different feel to it, and it took me back to then. I was only 11 when the song came out. So not as aware of the Vietnam War, not with the depth that you have as a being a bit older. I think it really captures the feel of the time and what was happening then.’

McLachlan had seen Lightfoot in concert 30 times over the years and tells the stories behind his favourite songs, including one that bumped Paul McCartney out of the number one spot on the music charts.

The acoustic arrangements are in the spirit of the originals but with some different arrangements and are performed with Marc Atkinson and Scott White.

“My band’s approach to all of this, when I’ve looked at these songs to record them myself, I’ve tried to find ways to either do them a little differently or make them more personal to me,” said McLachlan. “I didn’t want to do them the same. I didn’t want to play ‘Sundown’ with exactly the same solo. How can I compete with his classic version?”

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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