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Five Questions With ... Terra Lightfoot

Photo: Lisa MacIntosh
Photo: Lisa MacIntosh

In following up her acclaimed album Every Time My Mind Runs Wild, Hamilton ON roots rocker Terra Lightfoot felt compelled to draw from the extensive touring she did across North America and Europe. However, what she had in mind was a live album with a twist.

Live In Concert, released Feb. 10 on Sonic Unyon Records, captures two hour-long intimate shows staged on one memorable night at McMaster University’s LIVELab in collaboration with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, performing under conductor Boris Brott. John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews also appears on the album, adding to the unique vibes of what Lightfoot calls a special Valentine to her fans.

They certainly showed her a lot of love over the past year, helping her become one of the latest recipients of the Canadian Independent Music Association’s prestigious Road Gold certification—an honour reserved for artists who sell at least 25,000 concert tickets within a 12-month period.

It’s a further testament to the musical evolution displayed on Every Time My Mind Runs Wild that found Lightfoot expanding her sound to include classic country, blues and soul. Produced by Gus van Go and Werner F, the album captured the chemistry between Lightfoot and her rhythm section, bassist Matthew Fleming and drummer Joel Haynes, while adding subtle flourishes that brought the most out of her unmistakably rich voice.

She has a few select shows in Ontario this spring, and for more touring updates, go to terralightfoot.com

How did the idea to make this live album come about?

We had played so much in the summer of 2015, and folks we’d met across the country were really excited about our live show. It seemed like the right time to capture what we were doing onstage.

 

Were you feeling pressure during the process, and how did it ultimately feel to perform with an orchestra?

I absolutely felt pressure! We started sound check really early that day and I had played the night before, so I was pretty low-energy until the moment we started performing. It was really fun to have John-Angus MacDonald up there with us, too. His little son came to the sound check and he was really cute, dancing in his seat while we played. I realize that performing songs you've written with an orchestra is a privilege that some folks won't ever get to experience. It's almost impossible to describe the gratitude, the euphoria, the contentment and deep satisfaction. It's unreal to hear your music played by 46 people at once, and hearing the string parts was especially memorable. They made me cry the first time I heard them.

 

It's been a bit of a whirlwind since Every Time My Mind Runs Wild came out. What are your main goals for this year? 

This year we're focusing on touring a lot, which is custom for us. I love touring and traveling. I'm also writing a lot and am looking forward to creating a new studio album soon.

 

What song in your catalogue means the most to you and why?

“Home To You” is a song that still resonates with me long after writing and recording it. I guess everyone is trying to write timeless music, but that song to me says everything I had wanted to capture about feeling happy in love. I can safely say that I'm proud of that song.

 

If there were anything you could change about the music industry, what would it be?

Women—specifically women of colour and indigenous women—deserve a lot more attention in the industry. Like most professions, there are still some unwritten rules that discriminate against women. It would be nice if there were more folks in the industry who identified and worked against that harmful aspect of industry culture.