Call for articles: If You Could Read Our Minds: Essays on Gordon Lightfoot

Edited by Melissa Avdeeff (Coventry University) and Scott Henderson (Trent University Durham GTA)

Proposals are sought for an interdisciplinary, edited collection focused on the work and career of Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.

Lightfoot’s career spans more than six decades, beginning with his emergence in the folk rock scene in Toronto’s Yorkville in the 1960s through to continued touring in the present decade. Lightfoot’s success has bridged a number of genres, including folk, pop, country, rock and a range of crossovers. A string of Top 40 hits in the 1970s cemented Lightfoot’s international reputation, both as a singer and songwriter. In addition to his own recordings, Lightfoot’s songs have also been recorded and performed by an amazing array of diverse artists., across a vast range of musical genres.

This collection seeks proposals on any and all aspects of Lightfoot’s storied career.

Possible themes/ topics:

National identity

  • Canadiana in particular songs
  • Relationship to local/national scenes, communities
  • Impact of Cancon regulations
  • Race and national identity, including impact of multiculturalism on folk scenes

Song Analysis

  • Genre considerations
  • Music aesthetics
  • Close analysis of specific songs or albums
  • Covers of Lightfoot songs or covers by Lightfoot


  • History of Canadian folk traditions
  • Aural traditions and intellectual property (esp. in relation to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”)
  • Impacts of Canadian folk/Yorkville scene
  • Canadian folk music in the digital age
  • Lightfoot’s contemporaries and career parallels

Gender and Sexual Identity

  • Representation of gender in lyrics and performance
  • Performing masculinities within the wider context of Canadian identity, or gender politics of performance

Digital Lightfoot


Live Performance

Or any other topic that potential contributors wish to suggest!

We hope to include chapters by authors from a variety of disciplines and a range of viewpoints. Those interested should submit a 300 word proposal along with a biography of 250 words by October 15th, 2019.

All proposals will be given full consideration. We anticipate notifying participants by November 30th, 2019. Accepted abstracts will be part of a submission to likely publishers at that time, with an anticipated due date for finished chapters by mid-June 2020.

Please email proposals, in Word or PDF format, to Melissa Avdeeff ( AND Scott Henderson (