Morgantown, WV
Performing Arts Center - March 26, 1996

Sundown and I found myself in the Arboretum.  I was looking for a man with a golden baritone voice.  The orange glow in the west transformed the tame trees of the riverside hill into the wild forests of the north.  I could feel the snowbirds migrating south after the long hard winter, and images of people in beads and fringed jackets migrating in their Suburbans and Saturns to the lots around the Great Toilet Bowl on the Hill drew me out of the Canadian wildlands. 

I climbed out from under my warm, cozy rock to find, to my surprise, there were no beads.  There were no fringed leather jackets.  No one named Moon Dog or Sun Flower.  Just boomers.  Lots of boomers. People my parents' age.  That must be why I remember hearing that voice.  The room was packed and that voice rang out true and clear.  A little older, a little wiser and a lot more sober, Gordon Lightfoot's mellow voice flowed like good Canadian whiskey, getting smoother with age.  This Canuck crooner came to the CAC on Tuesday night to spread a little of the fine folk sounds he is famous for.  And to tout his newest album Waiting For You, his first effort since East of Midnight was released a decade ago. 

Lightfoot brought his style of slow and easy acoustic music to the Morgantown scene with old standbys like "Beautiful" and "Carefree Highway," as well as new tunes and unreleased songs like "Drifters."  His updated version of "Don Quixote" lamented the "ghetto boys all in black," and left me with the wonder of where the strong yet weak leaders of Gordon's generation who will yell across the ocean till those here start to hear.  And the song I most wanted to hear was the song many may have thought about earlier in the summer of '95 when the bell from the famous wreck was raised and placed in the Maritime Academy of Western Michigan: "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."  It brought tears to my eyes, just like the old vinyl my mom owned used to. 

"I'm happy to be here in Morgantown and know it," he joked with the sold-out crowd.  Many responded with a knowing laugh. 

Lightfoot shared with the audience how he gave up booze in 1982 and how the tour is taking its toll on him.  The spring cold didn't hamper his voice, though.  It was heartening to see a few younger faces in the crowd, but there weren't many.  This wasn't your glass-teat-unplugged trash.  This was pure music.  Long before the corporate greed mongers turned music with a message into nothing but money machines, this man was spinning mellow music to spend those long winter nights cuddling to. 

The Daily Athenaeum