Terra Lightfoot
Photo: Auteur Research

Terra Lightfoot Demonstrates the ‘Healing Power’ of Song

The liveliness of Terra Lightfoot’s singing and playing infectiously charms her songs even when the stories told describe what may be pathological behavior.

Healing Power
Terra Lightfoot
Sonic Unyon
13 October 2023

Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Terra Lightfoot‘s latest album, Healing Power, deals with the serious issues of love and romance in the modern world with a light touch. Most of the dozen tracks look backward at failed relationships. She ignores what may be her faults and forgives the other person for his. Time cures all wounds. Lightfoot isn’t being sentimental. She feels good. Even when Lightfoot knows things aren’t quite right, she appreciates just being alive.

The liveliness of Lightfoot’s singing and playing infectiously charms her songs even when the stories told describe what may be pathological behavior. Whether one is breaking glass tabletops, threatening another with death, or deflecting lousy behavior, the songs offer a sheen of not noticing the details while simultaneously noticing the details, like whistling in the dark. The melodies are pop more than rock, but the amplitude of the performance says she’s rockin’.

One doesn’t need to understand the words to appreciate her happiness. As a guitarist, Lightfoot is remarkably playful. The music is full of reverb, short, repetitive hooks, and bouncy rhythms. Even on a seemingly nasty rocker such as “Long Way Down”, the vibe is cool rather than unpleasant. There can be enjoyment in just complaining, especially when it’s justified. Her guitar takes this sentiment as a shared feeling as the drums and percussion invite one to join in.

Lightfoot has a big voice. When the singer asks her lover if he misses her (the genders are often purposely ambiguous), she does so loudly instead of the more traditional whisper in the ear. She’s brash rather than coy, which suggests the rowdy truthfulness of what she’s crooning about. She’s excited and can’t hide it. This is true when singing about “Someone Else’s Feelings” as well. Lightfoot raises her pitch and volume in frustration when another person plays their emotions close to the vest instead of just saying what’s inside.

She has a lilt in her voice that suggests she’s having fun. It’s the opposite of that tear-in-your-beer voice cultivated by country singers that implies heartache and is much more pleasant to hear. Lightfoot’s not afraid to break out into cooing to uplift the mood when troubles appear. On songs such as “Cross Border Lovers” and “The Only One of Your Kind”, the misfortunes take on a comic dimension. The vibrancy of her performances reveals the best way to deal with life’s difficulties is with a smile or even a laugh.

The songs on Healing Power prove that sometimes the best answer to life’s problems can be to change one’s attitude. There may be crying behind the laughter. Lightfoot knows people can disappoint, circumstances can change, and negative things happen. She’s not in denial. The best response can be to move on with an eye on the future. It may be true that what goes around comes around, but one enjoys life more on the merry-go-round if one perceives it as a carousel. Lightfoot opts to take her listeners on a ride. The album itself is the brass ring.

RATING 8 / 10