BRUCE COCKBURN > News > Articles by: adminsuper

Rob Wasserman, Masterful Upright Bassist, Dies After Brief Hospitalization

~from Bruce’s Facebook page, by Bernie Finkelstein:

Some sad news to report. Acclaimed bassist Rob Wasserman has passed away (June 29). Here’s what Jambase reported last night.

“Just hours after Bob Weir shared the news bassist Rob Wasserman was battling serious health issues, comes word Wasserman has died. RatDog guitarist Mark Karan first revealed Rob had passed on with Weir confirming the news shortly thereafter.

Rob Wasserman
Rob Wasserman

Rob Wasserman is best known for his long tenure alongside Weir as a founding member of RatDog as well as the pair’s Bob Weir & Rob Wasserman project. Wasserman was a member of RatDog from the group’s mid ’90s formation through 2002 and then again from 2010 to their most recent performances.”

Rob played on what many people consider to be one of Bruce’s finest albums “The Charity Of Night“, recorded in 1996. Before that Bruce and Rob had played together in the early 90’s at Sony studios in New York where they along with Lou Reed and Rosanne Cash performed together on one of Bruce’s “Christmas With Cockburn” radio shows.

The Long-Lost ’06 Bruce Cockburn “God Factor” Interview (with Audio)

by Cathleen Falsani
Updated on May 26, 2016. Original post published in March 2011.

In the spring of 2006, Farrar, Straus & Giroux published my first book, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, which was a collection of 32 “spiritual profiles” of well-known people (I won’t say “celebrities” as that label applies awkwardly to many folks in the book) who I had spent time with face-to-face talking about their spiritual lives. I then set out, as you do, promoting the book at various literary festivals and other public appearances. As part of that tour, we decided I should conduct a few of these “God Factor” interviews live before an audience. We invited Bruce Cockburn, long a favorite of mine and one of the first “celebrity” interviews I ever conducted way back when I was writing for my college newspaper. Bruce agreed to join me onstage at the Ann Arbor Book Festival in May 2006. I figured he’d fly in with his manager, do my little dog-and-pony show and fly back to Ontario. Instead, incredibly gracious and generous soul that he is, Bruce drove his van down from his home in Kingston, Ontario alone and spent a couple of days hanging out with me in the rain in Ann Arbor. Our conversation onstage was only a small part of the amazing conversations we had those few days in Michigan, but the only one for which I have an audio recording. (Our dinner at this fabulous Indian restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor — I’ve never before or since had curried okra quite as good — not far from the theater where I’d interviewed him backstage 15 years earlier, will remain one of my favorite experiences of all time.)

As for our public “interview,” it too remains one of my favorite of all time. For years I’ve meant to take a couple of hours to transcribe it and post it so all of you could read (and hear) Bruce’s thoughtful responses to my questions about his faith. I’ve sat down many times to do so, never finishing until tonite. So with my apologies for taking many years to share it with you in its fullness, I give you the Bruce Cockburn “God Factor” interview in its entirety.

Transcript of my Bruce Cockburn “God Factor” interview at the Ann Arbor Book Festival, May 13, 2006

KALW’s 75th Anniversary Concert featuring Kronos Quartet and Bruce Cockburn

KALW's 75th Anniversary Concert is the oldest non-commercial station in California and west of the Mississippi. It’s highly unusual for a radio station to be around as long as we have. But thanks to listener support, KALW has hung on for 75 years. To celebrate, we’re hosting a special concert on August 4th at the Nourse Theatre in San Francisco. Headlining the concert will be Bruce Cockburn and the Kronos Quartet.

We have a limited number of VIP tickets [scroll down] to a post-concert reception with the musicians and the best seats in the house.
A single VIP ticket for a $150 contribution
A pair of VIP tickets for a $240 contribution

1 August 2016 – UPDATE:
$35 Tickets are available for this show!

30 June 2016 – UPDATE:
Regular admission tickets are now on sale.

WEFT – Radio Interview

May 11, 2016 – A two hour radio interview that took place in April 2016, has been uploaded to

Niecey interviews well known and respected Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn.

Play TheMidwatch.Niecey.interview.w.Bruce.Cockburn_2016-04-27.mp3

Bill Usher recalls radio production from tour with Bruce Cockburn

Bill Usher, Bruce Cockburn, Jenny Scheinman, Gary Craig - 2013 - Golden, CO
Bill Usher (left) poses with renowned Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn (centre, left) and members of Cockburn’s backing band, Jenny Scheinman and Gary Craig, following Cockburn’s 2013 show in Golden

Mar 24, 2016 – Long before he arrived in Golden, Colorado and began to have an impact on what is now a bustling arts and culture scene, Bill Usher was a radio documentary producer and musician, with one of his proudest works coming in the form of a two-hour documentary titled On Tour with Bruce Cockburn.

Usher had worked with the Canadian folk icon on his 1976 release In the Falling Dark and toured across Canada with him on the subsequent tour. The idea to document the cross country tour with Cockburn seemed like a winner, and Usher took his idea to CBC, having produced documentaries for them previously.

“As soon as I knew that I had the gig…I basically went into one of the producers (at CBC) and said ‘I’m going out on the road with Cockburn for 12 weeks. I have this idea that I could do an on the road back stage documentary, are you interested?’,” he remembered.

The producer was interested, and Usher proceeded to round up all of the five inch reels of tape that he could before hitting the road for the tour.

Film and radio was a different animal back then. The days of digital recording were but a pipe dream, making production a lengthy, time-intensive process compared to contemporary standards.

Circles In The Stream – On Tour With Bruce Cockburn in 1977

February 2016 – Daniel Keebler, over at the Gavin’s Woodpile, has put together a wonderful article, including a 2 hour audio documentary which was made in 1977.

Special Occasion presents – ON TOUR WITH BRUCE COCKBURN

A two-hour program produced for the CBC in 1977. Bill Usher documents aspects of the Circles In The Stream tour of which he was a part. Included are intimate conversations with Bruce Cockburn about himself, his music and those who listen to it.

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Hawksley Workman and Andrew Burashko’s Art of Time Ensemble – A tribute to the songs of Bruce Cockburn

Hawksley Workman - Tribute to the songs of Bruce Cockburn

1 May 2016 – TORONTO, ON: Andrew Burashko’s Art of Time Ensemble is presenting its tenth Songbook concert featuring Hawksley Workman and the music of Bruce Cockburn. May 13 – 14 at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, Workman will perform Cockburn’s protest songs in new arrangements by Canadian composers.

The program includes If I Had a Rocket Launcher (arranged by Jonathan Goldsmith) and If a Tree Falls, as well as Workman’s We’re Not Broken Yet from his latest record, Old Cheetah.

“I’ve loved Bruce Cockburn’s music for a very long time and consider him one of my biggest influences,” says Workman. “He is a master of the protest song, always keeping beauty and poetry front and centre. In a time where protest is stifled and muted, I thought it might be good to revisit his music.”

Bruce Cockburn and Hawksley Workman on artistic legacy

22 February 2016 – The title of Bruce Cockburn’s memoir, now out in paperback, is Rumours of Glory. Upon reading the book, it occurred to the Cockburn enthusiast and fellow Juno-winning musician Hawksley Workman that there was too much rumour and not enough glory affixed to the standing of Cockburn. The two artists spoke to each other recently by phone, about credit due, MTV and roads worth taking.

Hawksley Workman: The passing of David Bowie got me to thinking about artists who seem supremely aware of what they’re creating for themselves and their own self-mythologizing. My sense, Bruce, is that you weren’t ever really aware of the legacy you were creating. Is that fair to say?

Bruce Cockburn: It strikes me that legacy is a very ephemeral thing. I’ve had that word thrown at me, but I don’t know. I think it’s out of my hands.

Workman: But people like Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, they nurtured or fostered an image of themselves that accompanied their art. I have trouble that you’re not included in the group of names we seem to culturally deify, and that it’s because their kind of self-mythologizing wasn’t part of your landscape. Do you feel that?

Cockburn: For me, it’s always been about the music and words. But under the surface, I recognize I have an ego like everybody else. I want to be noticed. In the beginning, I was defensive about that. I didn’t want to think in those terms, and I went to great lengths to avoid acquiring an image of any sort. But then I found that I had acquired an image of somebody who was trying not to have an image. So, I couldn’t beat that one. Once you put yourself in front of the public, an image is thrust upon you – by people’s response, by the media, by some sort of natural reaction to having somebody who is up on stage seem larger than life.

Workman: I hear all that. But your compulsion to do or to go or to be seems to eclipse that of somebody who might stroke their chin and think about what move might make them cool.

Cockburn: I’d be a liar if I denied being aware of how things might look to other people. But, again, it’s out of our own control. You can make choices, and people might see you as being cool or as a jerk. I got called names for supporting the Sandinistas. You can’t take that out of the picture, but, for me, it’s always been about curiosity more than anything else. I don’t see anything as a compulsion.

Bruce in Colorado

UPDATE: March 28, 2016

The interview is now online.

Bruce has 2 shows in Colorado, today at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and Thursday in Durango.
At last check, there were tickets available.

Also he will be on radio on March 23 at 2:06pm.

“The legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn will grace our studios for a KSUT Session at 2:06 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. Bruce will play the Community Concert Hall the next evening. A songwriter for a generation, he last performed for us on-air in 1997, prior to his DSCPA concert that was the grand opening of the Community Concert Hall. Make sure to tune in!”


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