Terra LightfootEvery Time My Mind Runs Wild (Album Review)

By Kristin Lee B

The fountain in Gore Park. Princess Point. Ask anyone living in Hamilton what their favourite part of the city is, and you’ll get different answers. Dundurn Castle. Webster’s Falls. Gage Park.

In a city rebuilding itself on a shaky but solidifying foundation of hope and promise, things move forward with only a few brief pauses to reflect on the not-so-distant past. Shiny new facades cannot erase or replace human fascination for time gone by, and there is a strong voice from Hamilton encouraging inhabitants to enjoy the experiences of the present before they become history.

The songs of Terra Lightfoot collect intangible moments as they pass, forming them into tangible memories to be tucked safely away. As things change, they echo with remembrance of events and states of mind that may or may not be recognizable. With an understated intensity, she walks a line between sensitivity and understanding with little regard for where discernment falls. For her, the deeply personal takes a meandering path towards simple understanding. The words pick a trail stretching through a familiar escarpment of trees, running along a steep embankment before emerging to span a shore, where sun-bleached bones of thoughts are laid bare and leave nothing unsaid – “oh I’d like to take you to the National Film Board in the afternoon. I’d spend all my dollars just to watch the movie screens with you. We could stay there all day ‘cause we don’t have nothing else to do, all this summer loving’s got me in a place I can’t handle.”


While past events are questioned among daydreams of future possibilities, confident melody distracts from taking anything too seriously. Relaxed drums tie together guitar and piano, sometimes lazily, sometimes with the blues. Fingerpicked notes ring out and rise into the sky like those from a busker climbing above the street on a summer day. Almost always upbeat, the album, Every Time My Mind Runs Wild [out now on Sonic Uynon], is embodied by the single “Never Will”, currently heard on major radio stations including Indie88 Toronto. A current of joy underscores any painful thoughts with a reminder of promise – highlighting the anticipation instead of the inevitable, imparting passing wisdom with buoyancy and belief. Thick with romance, parts of “Emerald Eyes” will be familiar to anyone who has fallen in love late at night in the dark corner of a local bar where you know everyone around you. “Some time past midnight, we lost track of those in the background. Shoulder to shoulder, the patio empty and still. Oh emerald eyes, if you want me to, I will.”

Terra Lightfoot. Photo from official page.
Terra Lightfoot. Photo from official page.

Shimmering like many sides of the multi-faceted, Terra’s songs are each as different as the landmarks of the city she calls home. Cohesion lies in her voice and within her words, tying together many thoughts into one feeling. Hanging at times like a heavy cloud and evaporating into a fine mist at others, it is always there – a constant comfort. Reassurance that despite impending turmoil, a solid ground upon which to rest still exists. However, she warns of the beauty beyond that safe harbour, and of the magic promised to those who seek recklessness. Despite length of time or breadth of distance, the city awaits those who return to it. With a warm greeting from a gracious host, those standing upon the mat looking for welcome can expect to be ushered in with open arms. As the door swings open, first-time visitors and the prodigal returned are greeted with the same wide and genuine smile.

Joined by other musicians from Hamilton, Terra Lightfoot plays the legendary Horseshoe Tavern tonight, Wednesday July 15th, with folk duo Twin Within and rapscallion rock’n’roll four piece Harlan Pepper. Tickets available when doors open at 8:30pm.

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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