The Al Purdy Songbook
by Songbook Producer Brian D. Johnson
November 2018 – The Al Purdy Songbook celebrates the work of an iconic Canadian poet. Along with its sister project, the film “Al Purdy Was Here,” it was inspired by campaign to save and restore Purdy’s A-Frame home as a writing retreat for a new generation of artists.
“Bruce Cockburn was one of several contributors already deeply familiar with Purdy, and he embraced the challenge as if it were something he’d been itching to do for years. In 3 Al Purdys, a rousing six-minute epic, Bruce lets Purdy’s words come tumbling through the verses as if poured from a pitcher of draft. A generous portion of his lyrics come straight from Transient, Al’s 1967 poem about hopping boxcars on the way to Vancouver as a teenager. The song’s refrain—I’ll give you 3 Al Purdys for a twenty-dollar bill—was inspired by Bruce’s distant memory of a poet selling books on a Toronto street corner. That’s not something Purdy was ever known to have done, but it evokes the scrappy persona of a poet who could connect with the street. Bruce is the only Songbook artist who tried to capture Al’s persona in his voice, adopting a gruff swagger quite unlike anything we’ve heard from him before. This was the first song Bruce had written in two-and-a-half years, ever since becoming a father, and it kindled a new burst of songwriting that led to his 33rd album, Bone on Bone and 13th Juno Award.”
Organizers of the Canadian Folk Music Awards have announced 96 nominees vying for the 14th annual edition that takes place at The Gateway in Calgary over two separate events on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
The two separate concert award shows are open to the public. Tickets and wristbands go on sale Oct. 1, with tickets priced at $35 for each night. A wristband covering workshops and both show nights is priced at $60. More information about the gala performance and the line-up will be announced shortly.
Bruce has been nominated in 2 categories:
SOLO ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Bruce Cockburn for/pour Bone On Bone
David Francey for/pour The Broken Heart Of Everything
Jolene Higgins (Little Miss Higgins) for/pour My Home, My Heart
Catherine MacLellan for/pour If It’s Alright With You: The Songs of Gene MacLellan
Buffy Sainte-Marie for/pour Medicine Songs
ENGLISH SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR
Bruce Cockburn for/pour Bone On Bone
Lynne Hanson, Lynn Miles of/de The LYNNeS for/pour Heartbreak Song For The Radio
Dana Sipos for/pour Trick Of The Light
Noosa Al-Sarraj (Winona Wilde) for/pour Wasted Time
Donovan Woods for/pour Both Ways
Bruce’s 1984 Stealing Fire album has been nominated for a Polaris Heritage Prize. The winner is by popular vote and you can vote once every day.
( https://polarismusicprize.ca/heritage-prize/2018-nominees/ )
On July 18, 2018 this photo was posted to Twitter by Les Stroud – “Back in San Fran to work with Canadian legend #brucecockburn on my new feature documentary film” – #reallesstroud.
About a week later, Bruce was off to Ashland, Oregon to do the score for a documentary film being made by Les Stroud, aka Survivorman.
In an interview with Les Stroud, by Pamela Roz for CanadianBeats.ca, he revealed the following:
I also have a new independent feature documentary film I am releasing called La Loche. It’s a story based on the school shooting in La Loche, Saskatchewan, Canada in 2016 and about how nature can heal. The score is being done by Bruce Cockburn, along with some songs from Robbie Robertson, myself and orchestration and scoring by David Bateman.
The interview is 37 minutes long and touches on some of Bruce’s insights about being in Nicaragua and Afghanistan during wartime, much about his songs and where they came from, aging in relation to performing and being a Canadian.
Hi, Really excited to tell you that Bruce Cockburn won his 13th Juno last night for “Bone On Bone”. It won for Top Contemporary Folk Album of the Year. A little backstory for you. Bruce won his first Juno in 1971 and his latest in 2018. That’s a span of 47 years. To put it in perspective, someone like Beaches (great band,) who just won their first Juno in 2018 will have to win again in 2065 to do what Bruce has just done. Now I know I’m biased and love Bruce, but I also like baseball and it’s love of stats, and let me tell you that’s a pretty amazing stat. Congratulations Bruce and everyone who worked on the album. So well deserved. ~Bernie Finkelstein