INTERVIEW: Canadian Singer- Songwriter Terra Lightfoot

Newcastle Live -


Much lauded Canadian singer-songwriter Terra Lightfoot has just released her album New Mistakes (ABC Music) and is currently embarking on her national tour supporting William Crighton.

With New Mistakes, Terra Lightfoot offers up something rare: the kind of genuine document that can only come from a road-tested breed of songwriter and performer. Shot through with the guitarist-vocalist’s powerful, bluesy soul, vivid lyrics and ferocious six-string virtuosity, it’s an unforgettable outing.

From the ground-shaking stomp of “Paradise” and wild-eyed energy of “Pinball” that open the set to the psychedelic, gospel-tinged album closer “Lonesome Eyes,” the steeltown native’s third studio record distills her masterful talent to its electrifying essence. 

She has some heavyweight friends along for the ride, too: Jake Clemons of the E Street Band brings a muscular sax solo to “Hold You,” while “Slick Back Kid” gets tangy slide guitar work from guest vocalist Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers. Produced by Gus van Go and Werner F, New Mistakes is a heady journey. As poignant as it is rollicking and vulnerable as it is rowdy, it cruises long and sometimes lonesome highways that lead everywhere from broke down dive bars and endless prairie skies to mountain ranges and the Mojave Desert.

Pop Matters wrote:“A roots rocker with a powerful voice and a bad-ass Gibson SG that she plays with consummate ease… she could be your new rock ‘n’ roll hero. Drawing from rock, soul and blues, [Terra Lightfoot] is a monster talent that will be gracing the world’s largest festival stages in no time.”

The soulful rocker has created quite a buzz in her home territory of Canada, and has already found a strong following in countries such as France and the UK.  Now all that remains is a warm embrace from Australian audiences!

CD: Is this your first Australian tour?

TL: “It is, I’ve never been here before”

CD: What do you expect over the next couple of weeks?

TL: “That’s a good question because I literally just got here. I expect many beach trips, and I have heard that Newcastle is good for that.

CD: I think that’s basically the main thing that we are known for. Something that I asked another international band was about Australian urban myths, have you heard any of those?

TL: “Urban Australian myths? No… please fill me in…”

CD: The whole ‘everything here wants to kill you’ vibe… that probably isn’t the best way to describe it, but you get the gist. Have you heard that before?

TL: “Actually I have. I was doing yoga on the back deck this morning and had the thought that a giant spider would attack me. I’m feeling good so far, its been 24 hours and I’m not dead yet. No tarantulas that I’ve seen up close”.

CD: I think if you go inland you’re going to hit a bit of trouble…

TL: “You’re kidding right? Wait, you’re being serious??”

CD: [Laughs] I’m deadly serious, every wrong move you can make will happen. I’m not talking up our country too well here am I?

TL: “No! You’re talking it down. I’m going to leave this interview with a sense of fear now!”

CD: That’s what I do. I set the bar low and then the next two weeks are going to be amazing for you.

Moving on to your album that you are going to be showcasing on this tour, can you tell me a little bit about that?

TL: “Yes of course. The album is called New Mistakes and it’s my third. It’s very much a blues album, a rock album, and a folk album, there’s a little bit of everything. I made it with my band who I bring everywhere with me, so I brought them half way across the world to play these songs in Australia”.

CD: From my understanding, you did a live album too is that right?

TL: ‘I don’t think a lot of bands do live albums anymore, because in comparison to a studio album they don’t have that much creative control. The thing with the live record too was that we played with an orchestra, so you hear a full set of strings and all of those cool things. To me it was also like playing rock songs, so it was really exciting to record the whole thing. The place we did it was actually at the university that I went to, which is like a state of the art facility”.

CD: There were also a couple of collaborations that I saw on the new record, could you tell me a bit about those?

TL: “So I have Jake Clemons, who is also part of [Bruce] Springsteen’s band, which is kinda heavy. He and I became friends after we played a charity show together, and he wanted to buy my record. I told him he was absolutely not going to give me money for the record, because I was just trying to give it to him. We became friends and went out for noodles, and then have stayed friends ever since”.

CD: How exactly did you choose those collaborations? Was it purely because of the personal relationships and the fangirling aspect to all of it?

TL: “Actually it was more when we finished the songs and we had done our part that we looked at it, and realised we could add something else. I’m afraid of adding too much, but when I looked at it, I wanted to include something that none of us could do. So that’s why I got Oliver [Wood] and Jake [Clemons] to help out”.

CD: So you’re playing alongside William Crighton for the tour, did he seek you out?

TL: “Well it’s kind of funny and complicated but we traded tours. In the spring he came to Canada to be my support band, and now I’m here as his support. We actually met at Canadian Music Week, we didn’t know each other beforehand, but I saw this giant playing acoustic guitar that was killing it and owning the crowd. After his set I went up and said hey, and then someone rang me up six months later telling me that I was going to be touring with that guy. It was such a coincidence”.

CD: Going back to the music itself, what has your journey been like as a musician?

TL: “Oh it’s been wild. You can actually hear the journey itself through the music, like the different places I’ve been and the different experiences. The journey has made me realise just how lucky I am, because for a lot of people this kind of things isn’t on the cards”.

CD: This is always an interesting question for musicians, but do you have a specific record that has changed your life?

TL: “I think that there are over a hundred records that have changed my life. One artist in particular was Marc Bolan from T-Rex, who was a massive influence of me. I think I channeled that a bit more through this album. But then again I also enjoy Simon and Garfunkel”.

CD: Finally, what can we expect from your tour?

TL: “Well, we have no yet had a chance to play these songs in my hometown. We have been out, we were in Japan and then we were in the western side of Canada. Since putting the record out, we still haven’t played there, so we have all kinds of energies to bring to the audience in the most exciting way”.

Terra Lightfoot will be on tour throughout November alongside William Crighton. She will be playing Newcastle’s Central Bar on Friday, November 3rd.

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Comments 1

  1. Sweet interview! Several points are interesting. That’s awesome she did a live section recording at the university she went to! Interesting she met friends with Jake Clemons at a charity event. Nice insights.

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