Streaming on-demand this summer is If You Could Read My Mind, a documentary about prolific Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, directed by Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni.
It’s clear he granted Kehoe and Tosoni carte blanche as to what they did with the hours of interviews. Gord’s got stories, a few regrets, and some fans in unlikely places. The film recounts the octogenarian’s nearly 60-year career as “a guy who sang poems,” as actor Alec Baldwin states, and an artist who “speaks with a voice for anyone,” according to Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin.
Also appearing in If You Could Read My Mind are fellow Canadian luminaries such as Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Anne Murray, and Sarah McLachlan. Steve Earle and Randy Bachman show their faces and sing Gordon’s praises as well, and longtime members of his band offer behind-the-scenes stories.
“Every time I hear a song of his I wish it would last forever.” – Bob Dylan
Maybe they don’t necessarily have an end. Maybe that’s why I have to listen to certain songs on repeat. “The House You Live In,” “Protocol,” “Summertime Dream,” “Minstrel of the Dawn,” and “I’d Do It Again,” just to name a few off the top of my head. But there are many more under-the-radar tunes that showcase his sovereign artistry.
Marty Robbins had a chart-topping hit with Gordon’s “Ribbon of Darkness” in 1965, rendering Lightfoot as one of Canada’s greatest songwriters, given the tremendous success of the single. Johnny Cash, Barbara Streisand, and Elvis Presley were also among some of the artists who recorded “Early Morning Rain,” shining an even brighter spotlight on Lightfoot as a matchless songwriter with unfathomable depths.
Gordon released an album just this past March called Solo, his first in 16 years. He discovered a treasure trove of unreleased material in his Toronto home office, two decades after he recorded them. The songs were written in late 2001 and early 2002, before he suffered a near-fatal abdominal aortic aneurysm later that year.
Watch the official trailer of If You Could Read My Mind below.
Listen to Solo‘s first single: