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At the end of a gruelling two-year stretch on tour promoting her third studio album, New Mistakes—a trek that took her to every corner of the world—Terra Lightfoot found herself at home and sapped. Life on the road had done a number on her body, her voice, and her mind, and despite isolating herself from friends and family, sitting down for hours a day at her writing desk, she was coming up with nothing inspiring. A trip to Nashville changed all that.
Just a few weeks in Music City broke the dam wide open. In rapid succession, Lightfoot wrote the songs that would form her latest full-length, Consider the Speed. Out poured more than a dozen, one after the other, reflecting on life as a touring musician, past relationships, and the death of her grandmother. “The healing power of rock ‘n’ roll,” a true blue sentiment that Lightfoot and her bandmates keep the faith in on tour, was in full force. And you could even say it hit her like a jolt of electricity.
THEN IT HIT ME LIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTNING!, a man yelled as Lightfoot stepped out onto Willie Mitchell Boulevard in Memphis after a visit to Royal Studios. She took it as a sign that she had to return to lay down Consider the Speed there, the same place Ann Peebles simmered through “I Can’t Stand The Rain” and Al Green set devotion to tape with “Let’s Stay Together.” Even the same technology—a hallowed #9 microphone—captured Lightfoot’s bluesy, long and low howl during tracking sessions. Each night, she sat on a red porch swing on the hot Tennessee nights and considered how dreamlike it was to be in that place with its soul, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll ghosts; every day, she faced the sweet reality of adding her own music to the studio’s history, working with a cast of supernaturally talented players: Steve Potts on drums, Davy Smith on bass, and Lester Snell on keyboards.
It’s no surprise, then, given the combination of a conspiratorial universe and Lightfoot’s hard work, that Consider the Speed is her most soulful, soul-baring, soul-searching record to date. There is soul to spare—in “Called Out Your Name” and its call-and-response verses; the raucous recklessness of “Midnight Choir”; and the gospel vocal stylings of Sharisse Norman and Candice Rayborn-Marshall on “Two Wild Horses.” There are the Godzilla riffs we’ve come to expect from Lightfoot, too, in the title track’s lustful overdrive and the bluesy stomp of “Paper Thin Walls.” And her already enviable lyrical skills have been elevated even further. The album’s centrepiece, “Lost You Forever,” is an epic tale of devotion over hundreds of miles, distilled to three and a half minutes, and “Empty House” is a sweet, deceptively simple ode to the quiet reveries of partnership. One song, “Ramblin’ Rose,” was given to her in a dream by her trucker grandfather. When producer Jay Newland first heard Lightfoot’s vocal take for it, he remarked: “I hope you’re ready to be heard now.”
More than ever. Steeltown’s own is coming through, once again, loud and clear. Consider The Speed adds to an impressive legacy that already includes 2018 Polaris Music Prize and JUNO nominations (Adult Alternative Album of the Year) for New Mistakes, Road Gold Certification thanks to her millions of miles logged around the globe, including marquee tour dates supporting legendary acts like Willie Nelson, Bruce Cockburn, and Blue Rodeo. On top of all that and being a songwriter and producer for hire, in 2019 Lightfoot also debuted The Longest Road Show, a touring revue that brought some of Canada’s most groundbreaking music-makers together for a jaw-dropping handful of nights in Ontario. Keep an eye out for the next edition when it’s safe to hit the stage again.
Until then, Consider the Speed at which you’re falling for Terra Lightfoot—a spectacular velocity that will gain momentum with every electrifying note.
Currently, it seems like there are only two types of Canadian singer-songwriters: those who strive to sound like Jeff Buckley and those who strive to sound like Leslie Feist. Terra Lightfoot has crafted a third, more interesting option: none of the above. Exclaim! Magazine "
Currently, it seems like there are only two types of Canadian singer-songwriters: those who strive to sound like Jeff Buckley and those who strive to sound like Leslie Feist. Terra Lightfoot has crafted a third, more interesting option: none of the above.