Joel Lightman – “Water on a Butterfly” (5-song EP on Boardroom Records)

Water on a Butterfly

CD Launch & Live Concert – Friday October 22 -  Buddies in Bad Time Theatre, Toronto 

by Kathy Hahn

For the fans that crowded the room, Joel Lightman needed no introduction.  They sang along to his songs as if they were welcoming the return of long-lost friends. This sense of familiarity spread quickly to us newcomers. Whether a fan or a new friend to the fold, the music touched the soul of everyone there, bringing people to tears and laughter.


Lightman drove through a set of material punctuated with five new tracks from a newly recorded EP entitled “Water on a Butterfly”. The debut video single “Shine On” illustrates the inevitable lightness of being that is Joel Lightman.  The songs are original, well-crafted, imaginative, melodious, sophisticated and luminous in arrangement, replete with infectious hooks and memorable melody lines that ricochet around in your head long after the last note has faded.


Lightman is first and foremost a gifted songwriter, a lyricist and poet of intense, simple truths and deep wisdom, who just happens to be able to bring that wisdom to bear through songs, just happens to be able to silence a room when he steps up to the mic to give those songs life and just happens to play the kind of piano that stops people dead in their tracks. Any one of these hard-earned talents could make a career. Lightman’s wide scope of musical talent is matched by intellect, precision, discipline and perception, brilliant flashes of intelligent humour and wit that elevates one above the limitations of the human condition. For the listener, lush notes pour in like scions of pure sunlight illuminating the darkest corners of our lives.


Lightman is a musician’s musician with a full measure of music degrees from the University of Leeds and the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Now based in Toronto, this accomplished singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, performer and arranger is much in-demand with a workload reaching from his current home in Canada to his birthplace in London.


The new EP was recorded with the The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and a pedigree lineup of Canada’s best. Talking about the recording, Joel elaborates, “I’ve always wanted to make an album with a symphony orchestra. The Prague Philharmonic were a joy to work with; they put so much passion and soul into their playing. That passion is an integral part of this album and I am indebted to them for their joyous musicianship. The musical collaboration on the record also features the inspired fretmanship of Justin Abedin (Jacksoul) on guitar. Underneath him is the ferociously talented longtime collaborator Russ Boswell (Parachute Club) on bass and anchoring us all is Rick Gratton (Patti Labelle), who has more groove than any man I have ever met. “


By the end of the night, it was clear the set was too short, and more evident that no matter how long the set might have been, it would never be long enough to satisfy a full house of dedicated friends and newly won fans.

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