Buffalo State alumnus collabs with legendary folk singer


Photo courtesy of Eric Greenberg

Legendary signer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot (left) pictured with alumnus eric Greenberg (right)

Chance Morrow

A SUNY Buffalo State alumnus has collaborated with internationally known singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot on a tribute song to Buffalo, NY.

Eric Greenberg is a 1978 journalism graduate of Buffalo State who has received many accolades for his work in journalism, including an induction to the Buffalo State Communication Hall of Fame in 2001, for his work in investigative reporting.

Greenberg has recently teamed up with the Canadian folk singer Lightfoot. The duo worked together to create an endearing song about the City of Buffalo.

Greenberg has been a scribe to Lightfoot for multiple years since graduating from Buffalo State. His interest for the singer evolved after writing about Lightfoot for the lamented Buffalo Courier-Express morning newspaper as a college student.

As a former writer for The Record, Greenberg found that the newspaper would be the perfect outlet to achieve this dream.

“I was the news editor at The Record, and I was a huge Gordon Lightfoot fan,” Greenberg said. “I wanted to interview Gordon Lightfoot for the newspaper,” he added.

After calling Lightfoot’s secretary and getting denied multiple times over the course of the year, Greenberg was finally given the home phone number of the folk singer for an interview.

“The interview was great, he was the nicest guy. We chatted on the phone for twenty minutes,” Greenberg fondly recalled.

The interview was also published in the Buffalo Courier Express Magazine.

After this interview, Lightfoot invited Greenberg to visit him at one of his upcoming shows.

Since then, Greenberg has gone on to write about Lightfoot for an array of publications, including USA Today, The Village Voice, and New York Newsday.

“Whatever town I’ve been in, I’ve managed to write a story about Lightfoot over the last several decades,” Greenberg said.

Years after his first meeting with Lightfoot, Greenberg found himself wanting to use the singer’s work as inspiration for his own.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for a piece of a song on one of his albums,” Greenberg admitted.

After asking and receiving Lighfoot’s blessing to make a new creation from the existing piece, Greenberg recorded the song with musicians in Toronto.

“I got Gordon to listen to the final version of it, and he told me to go with it,” Greenberg said.

“It’s a song that is about Buffalo; it’s a tribute to Buffalo, to Gordon Lightfoot, and to my experiences in Buffalo,” Greenberg said.

The song “Up in Buffalo” was released to iTunes last week and has already received a great deal of positive feedback.

“Up in Buffalo” is performed by Lightfoot, arranged by Mike Gruneir and produced by Toronto producer Brian Moncarz.

The scribe-turned-songwriter associates his achievements and opportunities to his alma mater.

“It all started at Buffalo State,” Greenberg acknowledged.

If the song does well, Greenberg hopes to work on more collaborations with Lightfoot, who still performs at the age of 77.

Greenberg’s song, “Up in Buffalo,” is available for purchase on iTunes, and can also be streamed online for free on SoundCloud.

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