Mudtown Interview: Terra Lightfoot

Terra Lightfoot plays the Heartwood Concert Hall next Saturday, December 12th to what will (likely) be a sold-out audience.  Last time she was in Owen Sound it was with the Dinner Belles, who played an inspired set of originals and classic country covers to a small sold-out show at Rocky Raccoon Café in support of their latest album “The River & the Willow.”  Fast forward a year – Terra has a hit solo album, a cross Canada tour under her belt, and has just played Massey Hall.  But, she couldn’t be more grounded.  

Mudtown: Why is Hamilton the worst? (For an inside on this joke, follow Terra on Instagram here.)

Terra: So many reasons. The waterfalls, the hiking trails, the beautiful views of the harbour, the restaurants, art galleries, venues, the cheap housing, SUPERCRAWL, two beer festivals, our new Collective Arts Brewery and ManoRun Organic Farm.

You’ve played a number of dates opening for fellow Hamiltonian Daniel Lanois, who has worked with U2 & Bob Dylan, among others, and is a noted songwriter in his own right – how do you think (if at all) Hamilton has influenced his songwriting, and / or your own?

Well I think there’s a sort of grit and dirt involved when people think of Hamilton. For me that never comes out.  I write about the nature, the streets and places I gravitate toward, the views of the city from different vantage points. Dan has told all kinds of stories about growing up in Hamilton. I think it informed parts of who he is as a person, just like any city does. He’s very honest and true to himself. I don’t know if he’s written any Hamilton centric songs. Maybe the new instrumental music he’s writing is all about Hamilton?

The scene in Hamilton seems pretty strong right now (sensing a theme?) with lots of venues for live music, the  successful Supercrawl festival, the Green Belt picnic, plus producing acts like Arkells, Whitehorse, and yourself – what do you think other scenes (think Owen Sound) can learn from Hamilton?

I think that Hamilton has pockets of different scenes all over the city, just like any place…so we have different venues, different genres, young people, old people.  It’s important for any scene to be inclusive. I am just as supported by the punk community in Hamilton as I am supported by the blues community, or the rock community. I focus on supporting them too. Even if you are not into each band in your city, you still support them and talk about their shows. The last part I would say is supporting the out-of-towners when they come through – Owen Sound seems to have that part locked down! It’s Hamilton’s weak point for sure.

Your voice – justifiably – has garnered a lot of accolades, but you’re also a skilled guitarist.  What guitarists do you like, or have influenced you?  Are any of them from Hamilton?

Well I love Luke Doucet’s playing.  He’s an honorary Hamiltonian. I am really into Chet Atkins right now. I’ve always loved his playing, but I’m starting to follow it more. No surprise he called himself “CGP” – Certified Guitar Player.

Owen Sound, or Hamilton?


When you were in Owen Sound last year for the Mudtown Music & Arts Series you played in the well-respected Hamilton group the Dinner Belles at the former Rocky Raccoon cafe.  It was a tremendous show, which displayed great group cohesion and formidable musicianship.  How is playing with your solo band different?

I love playing with the Dinner Belles, because we just get up there and joke around. It’s fun music too.  And, it doesn’t matter if you hit a wrong note. It’s funny. My (own) band is understandably maybe more serious, about the songs, lyrics maybe. I’m much more vulnerable in presenting my work I guess. Brad Germain from Dinner Belles also has a solo project, Spruce Invaders, which is a space rock band. So cool.

Finally, do you have anything to say to the people of Owen Sound before the show next Saturday?

People of Owen Sound, your town is great.  I really loved playing there last time, and I can’t wait to see you all again!

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