Lightfoot will bring his extensive catalog of songs, including “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind” and more at 8 p.m. Oct. 10 to the South Shore Room at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
It’s the Golden Jubilee year in the career of Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.
It’s been 50 years since Lightfoot began a musical career that’s included 20 albums, five Grammy nominations, five No. 1 songs and some of the most memorable soft-rock hits of the 1970s.
Lightfoot will bring his extensive catalog of songs, including “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Carefree Highway,” “Rainy Day People,” “Early Morning Rain,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald at 8 p.m. Oct. 10 to the South Shore Room at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
At 76 and having suffered from a myriad of health problems since 2002, no one would be surprised if Lightfoot quietly retreated to his Toronto home to relax and enjoy life with his third wife, Kim Hasse, whom he married last December.
But having fought through life-threatening conditions has left Lightfoot wanting to live life even more, not spend the rest of it reminiscing about the Carefree Highway of his magical musical career.
“I had an aortic aneurysm that almost killed me (in 2002),” Lightfoot told NPR in a February interview. “I made my way through. Twenty-eight months later, I was back on stage from the time that it went down.”
Lightfoot spent six weeks in a coma, underwent four operations plus a tracheotomy. It was an incredibly difficult time that required 28 months of recovery.
During those nearly 2 ½ years, Lightfoot was forced to face the potential reality that he would never be able to perform again.
“I was deaf for the first six months,” he told NPR. “But three days after I woke up, or came fully into consciousness again, one of the first things I thought about was, ‘Let’s get the guys in there (the studio) and let’s go make an album.’”
Lightfoot wasted little time starting the blueprint for what would be his 20th original album, “Harmony,” the 20th studio album of his career. The album was released in January 2004.
“I was working on that album before I left the hospital,” he said. “I’ve just been a very lucky person.”
That statement reflects the positive outlook that has personified Lightfoot’s career. Along with the many successes in his career, Lightfoot has dealt with issues that have felled many a man and cut short many careers.
There have been divorces, medical issues and serious struggles with alcohol, which he stopped consuming in 1982. But instead of giving up, he forgave himself and moved forward – his song catalog now consists of more than 400 songs.
“I came to a situation of repentance about it,” Lightfoot told the Reno Gazette-Journal in a phone interview in 2000. “What I mean is you just get to the point where for the rest of your life you’re not going to make waves. You learn to go with the flow, to go along with change.”
Lightfoot, who helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s as he had several songs recorded by artists such as Bob Dylan, Gene Clark, Dan Fogelberg, Jimmy Buffet and Jim Croce, isn’t writing as much these days.
He’s also doing very few interviews, choosing to spend his time enjoying life with his wife and doing what he loves to do and has done all his life – touring and performing for his adoring fans and himself.
“We do great, very lively shows,” Lightfoot told the Journal News (New York) in August. “I’ve got a really good band, the best band I’ve ever had for the combination – just two guitarists, bass, drums and keyboard. Last year we did 25 states and all 10 provinces of Canada. … I’m looking forward to this tour.”