A fitting retrospective of
Canada’s greatest songwriter
Hudson Village Theatre scores with Early Morning Rain homage to Gordon Lightfoot
By Byron Toben
May 11, 2023
Hudson Village Theatre has a knack for either producing fine shows, or bringing them in from elsewhere. Such is the case with Early Morning Rain: The Legend of Gordon Lightfoot. This retrospective tribute was conceived by and stars Leisa Way, a slender petite blonde with a big voice, who began her career as Anne in Anne of Green Gables. She has gone on to organize twelve successful concerts that feature her band, Wayward Wind, of five talented musicians who also sing some vocals – pretty good for a gal from Sudbury, Ontario.
This two-hour show had two acts. In the first, Ms. Way wore a green and gold dress and changed to a yellow and orange gown for the second, while the all-male band members were in black vests and trousers, changing only their shirts from blue to white while playing two guitars, a bass, a keyboard and drums.
The YouTube below captures the feel of the show as well as listing some of the many songs Lightfoot wrote. Sadly, he passed away on May 1 at age 84 after creating so many wonderful songs covered by many other famous performers. Despite the temptation to move to the USA, he remained a Canadian resident.
Among the many songs he wrote, besides Early Morning Rain, were The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald, Black Day in July and Ode to Big Blue, about a capsizing ship, race riots and whale extinction issues of the day, which reminded me of Irish poet Sheamus Heaney’s penchant for writing about what’s happening. This did not preclude such personal themes as For Loving Me or even a literary tribute to Don Quixote – a wide variety of inspirations.
[Lightfoot] passed away on May 1 at age 84 after creating so many wonderful songs covered by many other famous performers. Despite the temptation to move to the USA, he remained a Canadian resident.
His folk-rock and country music held up well, delivered by Ms. Way’s more energetic delivery, enhanced by her spritely dancing in place. All in all, a terrific show, as witnessed by nearly sold-out audiences reserving the 148-seat venue. Hopefully, Hudson Village Theatre can bring the Wayward Wind band back soon.
Early Morning Rain continues until May 14.
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.