Carefree Highway

by Gordon Lightfoot • Lesson #545 • Mar 30, 2024

In today’s lesson I’ll teach you how to play Gordon Lightfoot’s Carefree Highway (1975). I’m using an arrangement with capo on the 2nd fret, which has us using chord shapes in the Key of D. I’ll begin by teaching the easiest possible way to play things, cutting a few of the tricky corners that may prove too difficult for beginners.

If you’re looking for the full version Lightfoot plays, stick around for the end of the lesson where I’ll demonstrate. This one goes out to Song Notes supporter Richie - who emailed asking for any tips on simplifying some of the trickier chords. Richie, and everyone else watching – I hope this helps!

  • 0:00 Lesson Overview
  • 2:36 Intro
  • 4:04 Verse
  • 8:27 Chorus
  • 10:51 Advanced Tips

Lesson Discussion

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Practice Notes 5 pages

It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Download PDF

Here's a print-friendly PDF I made with all of my practice notes for this lesson. This lets you follow along with everything I show in video tutorial at your own pace.

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Song Sheet with Lyrics

I have not yet made a licensed song sheet for this song - but here’s a recommended arrangement I found online, with lyrics and chords that match the arrangement I teach.


Extended Video Lessons

How I Changed the Key (from C to D)

If you’re curious, here’s the process of me changing this key’s song – shown in real time. Be sure to check out my PDF guide showing the Most Common Chords in Each Key, which is what I am using in the the video below.

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Zoomed Playthrough - Simple Version

This shows the easiest possible way to play things - with no fast chord changes.

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Zoomed Playthrough - Full Version

Largely the same as the simple version, but with slightly more advanced parts in a few places (all of which are highlighted in gold). It’s not required to play like this, but it will sound a tad bit more like Gordon.

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Other Videos of Note

Album Recording from “Gord’s Gold” (1975)

Here’s the audio of Gordon playing it - great for reference! He’s capo 2nd fret using the Key of D chords I teach.

Lesson Teaching the Solo

Here’s another teacher’s take on this song, which includes the solo section (which I don’t teach in my lesson). Wanted to include it here in case you’re interested.


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