In March of 2020, there was much going on around us all. Through the chaos, there was some beautiful clarity to be found in the music of Gordon Lightfoot. “Solo” is an intimate experience of a master craftsman delivering inspired performances. Gordon Lightfoot remains one of my favourite artists. I cherish the records of his I have that I found and those that were part of my Dad’s collection. Much like Black Sabbath and Rush, I do not go more than a week without listening to some of Gord’s music. The work of his bassists John Stockfish and Richard Haynes in my view remain criminally under-appreciated.
The material from “Solo” was written before the release of his last album, 2004’s “Harmony”. After initially arranging the songs for his band, Lightfoot decided to go it alone with just his signature voice and guitar. The result is a deeply moving artistic statement from one of the greatest songwriters. Considering the age of the songs, “E-Motion” is a perfect statement that foreshadowed the excess of social media oversharing. The rawness of Gord’s voice behind “Easy Flo” really brings home a lesson of living in the moment. Part of living those lessons means you could get knocked off your feet and hit the ground hard.
The closing song “Why Not Give It a Try” is an emotional reminder to not take life for granted. It is suggestive of giving yourself permission to open your personal boundaries up to let in more joy. Why not try something different if it will enrich your life? Enrich your health? Enrich the worlds of the people around you? Why not care about nature and the environment more?
Clocking in at around 34 minutes, Gordon Lightfoot proved again that he is “A Painter Passing Through”. He is someone who admits to not knowing the answers to life questions. Instead, he offers lyrical portraits of the human spirit and history with a commanding presence that resonates with old and newfound fans of his work.