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Terra Lightfoot

  • Terra Lightfoot
  • Terra Lightfoot

 

Whether you’re talking about her as a songwriter, guitarist or vocalist, one thing is indisputable: Hamilton’s  Terra  Lightfoot is a ferocious talent.  Her songs tap into the raw emotion of hearts supercharged by love, lust, loneli- ness and temptation. Her playing melds expert finger-picking and distorted, hook-heavy melodies. And her elemental voice commands attention and awe, whether on slow-burning soul ballads or hard-charging rock numbers.

On  stages in  France, the UK and  across   Canada,  Lightfoot has  performed alongside heavyweights like Emmylou Harris, Ron Sexsmith, Gordon Lightfoot, Sloan,  Arkells, Basia Bulat, Albert  Lee, James Burton,  Whitehorse, The Sadies, Steve Strongman, Monster Truck and  Daniel Lanois. She also stays busy as part of country band Dinner Belles

In writing  and  performing Every  Time  My  Mind  Runs  Wild  (out  April 14,  2015  on  Sonic  Unyon  Records, dis- tributed by Sony Music Canada), Lightfoot set  out  to push  her  limits as a performer and  challenge herself  cre- atively. Where her debut was given to slower, softer songs and  a subdued vibe, Lightfoot’s new album  crackles with immediacy and  demands attention. From the moment you put  it on,  the album  announces Lightfoot’s ar- rival as a confident and  natural lead  performer.

Recording her sophomore album, Lightfoot says, made her a far more disciplined songwriter. That transforma- tion took place early in the songwriting process. Holing  up  with headphones and  a stack  of vintage pop and rock  albums, Lightfoot pulled apart  songwriting mechanics, mastering tonic  chords and  middle eights and learning to craft  memorably sticky choruses. She spent the weeks leading up to the recording sessions honing the album’s songs — working and reworking them until they were taut and lean.  And then she hit the studio.

Lightfoot praises the supportive production team of Gus van Go and Werner F, who she says approached her material with a light and respectful touch. Tracks like “NFB,” “Emerald Eyes” and “Splinter” were recorded live off the floor over the course of a single day, a sprint made more urgent by the fact that the studio’s air condi- tioning was on the blink. Elsewhere, the pair  took  a more  meditative approach, filling out  tracks  like “Moon- light,”  “No  Hurry”,  “Never Will” and  “All Alone”  with  choice  details. They  also  enlisted the talents of  key- boardist Liam O’Neil (The Stills) to round out  the core  trio of Lightfoot (guitar,  vocals), Matthew Fleming  (bass) and  Joel  Haynes  (drums).

From start to finish, the results are radiant and remarkable. Lightfoot’s touchstone influences — blues  legends Leadbelly and  Lightnin’ Hopkins,  soul  greats Sam Cooke and  Otis  Redding, jazz titans Nina Simone  and  Billie Holiday — are fused  with songs that evoke  the burly soul and  bounding rock of Them or Creedence Clearwater Revival.

For all those comparisons, however, one listen  to Every Time  My Mind  Runs Wild will convince you that Light- foot is an inspiration all her own.

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