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Painter Passing Through
Gordon Lightfoot
Painter Passing Through
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

The camps remain divided on Gordon Lightfoot, largely due to his love-it-or-hate-it 1976 hit single "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Those on the fan side of the line will find reasons to enjoy his 1998 album A Painte...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Gordon Lightfoot
Title: Painter Passing Through
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Reprise Records
Original Release Date: 5/12/1998
Re-Release Date: 1/8/2007
Album Type: Import
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Outlaw Country, Classic Country, Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, North America, Singer-Songwriters, Soft Rock, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: Painter Passing Through
UPCs: 093624694922, 093624694946, 936246949226

The camps remain divided on Gordon Lightfoot, largely due to his love-it-or-hate-it 1976 hit single "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Those on the fan side of the line will find reasons to enjoy his 1998 album A Painter Passing Through; the naysayers won't. Lightfoot, nearing 60, has lost much of his lower register, but the tell-tale tics of his singing style are still in place, especially the catch in his voice on Steve McEown's appropriately-titled "I Used to Be a Country Singer." Lightfoot's songwriting skills, however, have not diminished at all, and "Drifters," "Boathouse," and "On Yonge Street" are among the winning tracks on Painter. Fellow Canadian Daniel Lanois guests on the latter two tracks. --Michael Ruby

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CD Reviews

The Last Troubador Ira M. Pesser | Ithaca, N.Y. | 08/28/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Once upon a time, in the '70's, there was a genre of singers called "troubadors." Troubadors usually began their musical careers as folkies, and evolved in troubadors when they became better musicians. Yet, like folkies, they didn't sing songs; they sang stories. The finest of the Troubadors included Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, and Gordon Lightfoot. Today, only one troubador remains; Gordon Lightfoot. Now sixty, with a voice that has lost most of its resonance, Gord continues to make recordings. Yet, despite his loss of youth, he refuses to sink into maudlin self-pity, or pretend that he is still a young man. His title song "A Painter Passing Through" is the narrative of a troubador who lost his youth, found perspective, and still refuses to surrender, despite being past his prime. "On Yonge Street" about Gord's native Toronto, Ontario, using dual melodies, is somewhat reminiscent of "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." Perhaps the finest track on this album is one of its two songs not written by Gord, "I used to be a Country Singer." This song, written by Steve McEown, is about a singer whose hotel maid was once a country singer. Yet, rather than being depressing, it's a celebration of just being alive! That, in an essence, is the theme of "A Painter Passing Through"; a celebration of just being alive. Yes, Gord is now singing songs about maturity, but mature is what he is, and maturity, like youth, is a phase of life that deserves its own celebration. Besides, there is nothing more disgusting than a sixty year old singing songs about adolescence! Indeed, his lecture to youth, using his alter-ego "Uncle Toad Said" is the story of every person no longer young. Correspondingly, in "Ringnecked Loon" a more up-beat story about a troubador, Gord also adopts an animal as his alter-ego. That he choses the Loon is fitting, since the Loon is the symbol of Gord's native Canada. "Drifters" could best be titled 'advice to a would-be troubador'. Similarly, "My Little Love" is the tale of an old troubador still plugging away. "Boathouse" is the wide-awake dream of an insomniac in the middle of the night, and it's counter-part, "Much to My Surprise" is the quiet observation of a late afternoon. Unfortunately, none of the songs on this album will rank among such greats as "If You Could Read My Mind" , "Sundown", "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and "Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald", the latter being perhaps the finest troubador-song ever written. Yet, those who love troubador music in general, and Gordon Lightfoot music in specific, will not be disappointed. Indeed, that Gordon is still moving forward, despite being past his prime, holds the promise that perhaps the best really is yet to come, for Gordon Lightfoot, and for us all!"
Painter passing through
Gsorme | Seattle, WA USA | 09/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A good collection of songs. A laid-back album that honestly doesn't try too hard but still comes out well. Gordon has aged, but I think we're lucky he's still making albums - so many people here have written how Gordon's music accompanied them through life, and here we have the opportunity in turn to accompany an accomplished singer-songwriter into the later stages of a career that has meant so much to so many. The songs bear out these reflections: Painter Passing Through, Drifters, Uncle Toad Said - all express familiar Lightfoot themes in a satisfying way. This was also true of his Waiting for You album, which is disappointingly out of print and which was very satisfying, to my mind - even more so than Painter. True, some of the lyrics are disappointing because they strike me as first draft lyrics - I have tried but can't really appreciate Yonge Street, and still have trouble with Ringneck Loon. Overall on Painter, the production is good - the sound quality crisp, although not centering quite as much on guitar as I would like.And as far as his voice goes, it's not the rich baritone that he started with, but what do you expect? He's been steadily touring for 35 YEARS, and if that doesn't wear a voice down I don't know what would. But again, I listen to his voice and can still hear the old Gordon Lightfoot in there, and I appreciate that I can follow him through this stage of his life. I, for one, am glad to have this album."
Still the best after all these years
Albert T. Walters | North Olmsted, OH USA | 07/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A long, long time ago, I discovered that I have a natural resonance for Gord's music. No matter what he does, or whose songs he sings, it still resonates deeply with me. I've had the great fortune to speak with him at length, and spend hundreds of hours listening to the dozens and dozens of songs that he has recorded. Someone more eloquent than I once said that "his music and his words weave a rich tapestry of life". A Painter Passing Through is yet another weave in the tapestry. As to whether his vocal quality has deteriorated: When I look at my wife, I still see her as I did when we met many, many years ago (I'm in the same 60'ish crowd as is Gord). So, I guess I must not have noticed. I can tell you this, however: As long as Gord makes music and speaks words, I'll be there to listen. I have no doubts that it will continue to bring treasure to my life.For the many of us, who are with Gord on the journey through life, we're in it for the long haul!"