I heard about TERRA LIGHTFOOT when I was meeting with PR companies in London a few weeks back. I was handed a copy of her 2nd album and immediately fell in love with it, I wanted to learn more about her and what made her get involved in music in the first place. We caught up with Terra days ahead of the UK launch of her latest album 'Every Time My Mind Runs Wild', here's how we got on....
I recently got hold of a copy of your second solo album ‘Every Time My Mind Runs Wild’, I have listened to it a good 4-5 times and it just gets better with age, like a fine wine, tell me, when you were in the studio, how long did it take you to be happy with the ‘final cut’?
Thank you so much! Well, between myself and Gus and Werner (the producers), we were a little bit picky with certain things. My band is wonderful, so they finished their tracks quickly, but when it came to guitars and especially vocals, I took a lot of time to make sure everything was “perfect” as far as I could hear it. The producers were really encouraging, sometimes they’d tell me “It’s done!” even when I would want to continue picking at something or try it again.
Where did you record the album and who produced it? Have you recorded here before and used the same producer in the past? Why this producer?
Recorded with Gus van Go and Werner F. I had recorded at the Gas Station studio before — it’s on a beautiful island in Toronto (surprisingly called Toronto Island) and there’s a beach about 30 feet from the main room. Gus is an amazing producer and has a great track record with bands like The Stills, and he had worked with my friends in the band Monster Truck, and also my friends from the band Whitehorse, so he was an obvious choice.
You’ve played alongside some heavyweight acts in the past such as Emmylou Harris, Ron Sexsmith & Gordon Lightfoot what did you learn from watching these guys perform?
Well they’re fantastic performers, and they’ve been doing it for a long time, so first and foremost I just learn from their musicianship and how they interact with other musicians and the audience. One thing those folks all have in common is that they’re really humble despite playing these insanely amazing shows. That’s something I would like to take note of.
Lets take things right back to the early days, when did you first become interested in music and what was the first song you ever learned to play? Why this song?
The first song I learned to play was probably something my grandmother taught me. She taught choir on Tuesdays and as a little girl I would go with her and share the piano bench, and mash the keys. Maybe it was “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”.
If you could nominate just one record for ‘Best Record of All Time’, what would it be and why?
Chet Baker Sings. It’s just so beautiful… sonically, his voice, the instruments… I could listen to it every day. That’s probably not a popular choice, so I’ll also pick T. Rex’s The Slider. And Junior Kimborough’s First Recordings.
You play with a really solid backing band, if you could replace these guys for just one show with ANYONE (dead, alive or fictitious) who would be up there with you and why?
I wouldn’t replace them, but if they left the band and I could recruit one dead person... I would select Levon Helm on drums, Paul McCartney on bass and Spooner Oldham on keys - he’s played for everyone - Aretha, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan... and I actually had the chance to see him at a festival a few years ago sound-checking. He must have played four notes but they were the most beautiful notes I’ve ever heard.
How did you start out in music, any venues that gave you a chance to perform regularly to make a name for yourself?
Your music really hit me from the very first track of your latest album, I hear that previous releases weren’t quite so ‘immediate’, what changed to make you approach songwriting differently from before?
I think for me, I just felt more comfortable playing guitar on this album. On my last album, I was just hitting my stride and figuring out who I was as a songwriter, so I wasn’t as confident as I was on this record.
You’re also a fixture in country band The Dinner Belles, do you sometimes find it tough when festival season comes along?
The Dinner Belles are a wonderful family band, but we don’t really play all that much anymore, it’s tough to get seven people together for a show.
I was on YouTube last night watching some great videos of you, I particularly enjoyed the beautifully stripped down cover of ‘Head over Feet’ by fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette in honour of the 20th anniversary of Jagged Little Pill. Was this something that the label arranged? Did you get to choose which song you performed?
The Alanis cover came about as the result of an invitation from our national broadcaster, CBC. They were putting together a week-long tribute to celebrate that album’s anniversary and gave me my choice of songs. I listened to that song a lot with my friends in school...so it was really cool for me to be able to come up with my own version for CBC!
I also really enjoyed your version of Leadbelly’s ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ which I recall Kurt Cobain breathing life into some years ago. We’re loving your playing style and the way you lay into your SG, what is it about this particular track that you like so much?
I think I love the opening guitar of Lead Belly’s version, how he strums — that rhythm figure, the low tuning. It makes the lyric that much more chilling.
I see that you have played before in the UK in the past, when can we next expect you on UK shores?
I’ll be back in September/October along with a bunch of European dates, I’m so excited to return! (Dates below)
Sep 19 London, UK @ The Slaughtered Lamb
Sep 21 Hamburg, GER @ Reeperbahn Festival
Sep 22 Hamburg, GER @ Reeperbahn Festival
Sept 23 Hamburg, GER @ Reeperbahn Festival
Sep 24 Utrecht, NL @ TivoliVredenburg
Sep 27 Brussels, BEL @ Arthur’s
Sep 29 Nancy, FR @ Off Kultur
Sep 30 Noeux-les-Mines, FR @ Natalie’s
Oct 02 London, UK @ Notting Hill Arts Club
Oct 03 Leeds, UK @ Oporto
Oct 04 Sheffield, UK @ Cafe #9
Oct 07 Perthshire, UK @ The Green Hotel
Oct 09 Edinburgh, UK @ The Bluebird Café
Oct 10 Leicester, UK @ Topdog
Oct 11 Liverpool, UK @ Leaf
We thought that it was only fair that Terra face the wrath of our quickfire questions round, here's how she got on!
Whiskey or Wine?
Burger or Pizza?
Hedgehog or Fox?
Fox for SURE.
Laptop or Tablet?
Electric or Acoustic?
Camping or Camper Van?
Summer or Winter?
Bath or Shower?
Book or Kindle?
Cluedo or Monopoly?
De Niro or Pacino?
Clinton or Trump?
God or Google?
also OH NO
We'd like to thank Terra for taking the time out of her hectic schedule to chat to us, we wish her every success for the launch of her new album in the UK and hope to be able to catch up with her at a live date shortly. If you wish to keep up with her whereabouts and happenings, please keep an eye on her socials below....