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No slowing down on this road: Gordon Lightfoot to perform in Bemidji

BEMIDJI -- After 50 years on the road, you would think Gordon Lightfoot would take a break now and then.

But the iconic Canadian singer/songwriter isn't slowing down this week. The 74-year-old is playing the Sanford Center in Bemidji on Sunday. That follows a show in Fargo on Saturday night and before a show in Sioux City, Iowa on Monday night.

Lightfoot is currently on his "50 Years on the Carefree Highway" tour, which started in March and will end in November at about 70 shows.

But the pace of touring is nothing new to Lightfoot, who has been part of the folk/country/rock scene for well more than those 50 years on the road. Since starting out in the 1950s, Lightfoot has been one of the most influential singer/songwriters of modern music.

Long career

While mainly a folk/country singer in his early career in Canada, he also wrote songs for many other top artists of the time, Marty Robbins, Peter, Paul and Mary and Elvis Presley. In later years, many more artists would record his songs, including including Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp.

As his own career evolved, Lightfoot became a staple on early 1970s FM radio. His first major hit was "If You Could Read My Mind," released in 1970. He followed that with a string of popular albums featuring songs such as "Sundown" and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," both of which remain on many classic rock radio station playlists.

Lightfoot continued to record and tour throughout the years; his latest album "All Live" was released in 2012. His last studio album was "Harmony" in 2004.

Canada and beyond

While successful around the world, Lightfoot has been described as a national treasure in Canada, and many Canadian artists have listed Lightfoot as a major influence in their careers. In 2003, the tribute recording "Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot" was recording featuring modern artists such as The Tragically Hip and the Cowboy Junkies covering Lightfoot songs.

Lightfoot has often been compared to Bob Dylan, and the two have performed together, as well as recorded one another's songs. According to several websites, this quote by Dylan about Lightfoot is often cited. "I can't think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don't like. Everytime I hear a song of his, it's like I wish it would last forever."

Lightfoot has been nominated for five Grammy awards and has one numerous Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys. Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He had a star placed on the Canada's Walk of Fame in 1998 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.

If you go

What: Gordon Lightfoot

Where: Sanford Center, Bemidji

When: 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Tickets: $35, $45 and $65. Tickets may be purchased at the Ford Pickup Windows at the Sanford Center ticket office, any Ticketmaster retail location, Lueken's Village Foods or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at