Image of Gordon Lightfoot. Text says "Follow the songwriter's lead."When Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot died on May 1 at the age of 84, tributes flooded in. They praised his songwriting abilities and ballads that brought Canadian stories to the world.

“A songwriter without parallel, his melodies and words were an inspiration to all writers who listened to his music,” wrote singer/songwriter Neil Young.

“I just loved how perfectly concise it [Rainy Day People] was,” tweeted Ron Sexsmith, another singer/songwriter. “I loved the melody and how he would use similar language in each verse and of course the conversational phrasing he put to good use in all his music.”

You don’t have to be a songwriter to be inspired by Gordon Lightfoot. Many of his expressive lyrics touch hearts by calling on classic writer’s tools that you can use, too.

In the May issue of Wordnerdery, I include some of the lyrics that show Gordon’s deft use of metaphors, rhyme, storytelling and other techniques. Have a look and let me know if you’re impressed with his songwriting skills, too!

If you’re a fan, what’s your fave Lightfoot song? What lyrics from other singer/songwriters speak to you? Please share in the comments!

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