A Timeless Gordon Lightfoot Tune: “Circle of Metal”

Canadian Singer/Songwriter Gordon Lightfoot is greatest recognized for writing hits together with “Sunset”, “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, “Carefree Freeway”, “Early Morning Rain” and “If You May Learn My Thoughts”. In a profession spanning 5 a long time, twenty studio albums and a number of other “better of”, “biggest hits” or “Gord’s Gold” compilations there’s a bottomless properly of lesser-known Gordon Lightfoot songs which meet the excessive songwriting requirements set by his well-known hits. On this first of a collection of articles devoted to this good songwriter’s not-so biggest hits we are going to check out “Circle of Metal” and study what makes this piece so timeless and vital.

Recorded for Gordon Lightfoot’s breakthrough album “Sunset” in 1974 the tune “Circle of Metal” represents one other aspect of Lightfoot’s songwriting. Whereas Gordon’s material typically includes love, misplaced love, nature, journeys, self-realization and so on., “Circle of Metal” takes us to the interior metropolis at Christmas time. And what we discover will not be precisely what one expects to listen to in the course of the vacation season. Sure, there are some “sounds of the season” and there’s snowfall and there are even references to Christmas morning and household heirlooms. However this specific “vacation tune” paints a extra lifelike image of what some Christmases are like in sure locations.

The tune’s stunning opening options Lightfoot’s recognizable finger-picking on acoustic guitar to the sound of a recorder blowing the melody of the tune’s impending verses. The lyrics present the right temper for a Christmas tune as Lightfoot sings “Excessive home windows flickerin’ down by way of the snow. A time you understand. Sights and sounds of the individuals goin’ ‘spherical, all people’s in line with the season.” Nevertheless it doesn’t take lengthy for the temper to shift as Lightfoot cleverly brings us into one house specifically. The house of a “welfare case” the place Gordon notes “the rats run round like they personal the place…”

So we discover ourselves within the house of a household struggling on welfare at Christmas time. However apparently the following door neighbors aren’t having a simple time both. Lightfoot paints the image of the tune “Deck the Halls” coming by way of the partitions of “the flat subsequent door the place they shout all day. She suggestions her gin bottle again until it is gone. The kid is powerful. Every week, a day they may take it away for they learn about all her unhealthy habits.”

The tune’s last verse finds the mom explaining to her youngster why their father is in jail: “Your father’s satisfaction was his means to offer and he is serving three years for that cause…” earlier than the tune resolves by repeating the opening verse. As listeners we discover ourselves a bit surprised (for lack of a greater time period) as we now have simply been handled to a really catchy melody, an-almost “joyful” temper, sounds of the recorder (courtesy of wind-player Jack Zaza) and a vacation “vibe”. But these musical “treats” are balanced by the lyrics which paint a really actual (and gloomy) image. In essence, Lightfoot has musically “tricked” us into interested by one thing actual in the course of the holidays.

By taking sincere and actual material and juxtaposing it in opposition to an upbeat, joyful or “constructive” melody Gordon Lightfoot is ready to ship Circle of Metal’s critical and intense message and make the listener truly take pleasure in receiving it. Subsequent time you contemplate burning a Christmas “combine” CD contemplate including “Circle of Metal.” This tune’s message is vital, actual, common and would most actually trigger anyone (with a soul) to take pause. The important thing to nice songwriting…

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