Bruce Cockburn’s episode of The Vinyl Supper podcast and video series with Foy Vance is out now! Pull a seat up to the table and find out what we’re eating and listening to during our last meals. Listen and watch at thevinylsupper.com.
On a very special 10th episode, Foy gets to speak with one of his idols: Bruce Cockburn. Bruce’s first album came out fifty years ago, and here he is on episode 10 of The Vinyl Supper with Foy Vance. His eponymous album was released on April 7th 1970, including classic hits “Going to the Country” and “Musical Friends.” In the past fifty years, he’s released 34 albums and played around the world.
Foy and Bruce bond over songwriting and what ‘the new normal’ has meant for them. Bruce calls back to an All-American favorite food, chicken and waffles, and rewinds over memories with All-American favorite musicians, Elvis and Little Richard. The two get serious with talks of the recent unrest in the states, and Bruce has some words of wisdom: “looters are not the creators of chaos.” They discuss the difference between condoning, condemning, and understanding.
In his own words, Bruce says of the last fifty years of recording: “I can only shake my head and mutter a word of thanks for all of it. Even if I’d been a planner by nature, I doubt I could have predicted how things have gone. And they’re still going!” Going they are indeed: Bruce’s songs have been covered by Jimmy Buffet, kd Lang, Barenaked Ladies, Jerry Garcia, Judy Collins, Chet Atkins, and many more.
Well after an absence of many years Jackson Browne has revived the Native American Scholarship Fund benefit concert for the Verde Valley School in Arizona. I can’t remember how many times Bruce played those wonderful concerts but it was several and each one was very special for a great cause and always with great artists and audiences. Be great if you could join us on October 10 for what Jackson has called the Dream Concert. ~ Bernie Finkelstein
Verde Valley School
Native American Scholarship Fund
Saturday, October 10 :: 9:00PM ET
About Dream Concert
FANS and Verde Valley School present Dream Concert featuring Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin, Bruce Cockburn and more to benefit the Native American Scholarship Fund
FANS has partnered with Verde Valley School to host Dream Concert, highlighting notable musicians, advocating for the inclusion of Native American voices and bodies in high school education on Saturday October 10 at 6PM PT/9PM ET.
The concept of Dream Concert originated over 30 years ago by Jackson Brown, where he held an outdoor music festival on the Verde Valley School campus. The festival then became an annual affair, which raised tuition assistance for the Native American students. Past performers include Neil Young, John Trudell, Bonnie Raitt, Indigo Girls, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Ben Harper, and many more.
This year’s lineup includes heartfelt performances by Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin, and Bruce Cockburn, along with Arizona bands Sihasin and Calexico. The livestream will also feature appearances by R. Carlos Nakai, Michael Franti, and Dene-Canadian rocker, Leelah Gilday, and more to be announced.
In keeping with its roots, the Dream concert will raise tuition funds to support the Verde Valley School’s Native American Scholarship Fund and their student’s quest for quality education. The Verde Valley School is a top tier high school devoted to cultural exchange, hosting over 130 students from around the world to live and learn together.
“The nation, indeed the world, needs a school that will bring together children from many nations, many cultures, all races and religions, not simply to study and tolerate on another, but to learn from and celebrate their differences.” – Hamilton Warren, Verde Valley School Founder
Support the Native American Scholarship Fund and join FANS for an inspired night of music with Dream Concert on Saturday, October 10.
Inspired by his heartfelt song Dear Father, Colin Hay & City Winery present a multi-artist broadcast to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, June 21st beginning at 5PM Eastern Time. [ 5pm Eastern Time – 4pm Central – 3pm Eastern – 10pm UK ]
The singer-songwriter and former Men at Work frontman has partnered with City Winery to curate a lineup of old and new friends and City Winery favorites including Billy Bragg, Bruce Cockburn, Dar Williams, Fantastic Negrito, Nikka Costa, Glen Phillips, Joan Osborne, Jorma Kaukonen and more. Hay also included two fellow Australian artists: singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem and Aboriginal guitar virtuoso Chris Tamwoy. Radio legend and WFUV host, Rita Houston will serve as the streaming event’s emcee. View complete current list below.
Families around the world will be able to connect virtually through this shared experience, celebrating all fathers everywhere through music, providing much needed art and entertainment at home. This streaming event builds on the success of a popular Mother’s Day stream co-produced by City Winery and Billy Bragg.
Full line up (subject to change):
Colin Hay, Billy Bragg, Jorma Kaukonen, Dar Williams, Fantastic Negrito, Bruce Cockburn, Nikka Costa, David Bromberg, Jackie Greene, Glen Phillips, Joan Osborne, Willie Nile, Martin Sexton, James Maddock, Delta Goodrem, Chris Tamwoy, More TBA
Over the course of his 40-plus-year career, Colin Hay has performed at many of the NIVA venues that are fighting to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. NIVA continues to lobby Congress to provide relief to venues noting that music venues were among the first businesses to close at the onset of this crisis and they may be among the last to reopen. Hay is eager to support other artists and independent venues while providing welcomed entertainment for fathers and fans to enjoy at home.
“City Winery came to me, and asked me to be part of a Father’s Day streaming event, the proceeds going to NIVA”, says Hay.
“I like independent venues, they have character, they have the personalities of the people who run them, and work in and around them. I’ve played many of them, and would like to continue to. This streaming concert may help in some small measure, to keep them alive.”
Hay continues to be inspired by his father. “I think about my father all the time, he’s gone now. He was on the stage when he was young, in theaters, in Glasgow and beyond. Whenever I play across the country, he comes with me. There’s a lot to be said for tradition.”
Today, as Bruce Cockburn reaches his 75th year, we can rejoice that he is still a stealer of fire, dancing his sunwheel dance in the falling dark of the dragon’s jaws. Roots Music Canada joins the rest of the world in celebrating his birthday, his music, his Junos, his doctorates, his investiture into the Order of Canada, his inductions into numerous musical Halls of Fame, his redemptive presence as a cosmic troubadour in Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren & The Shack by William P. Young, his performances on Saturday Night Live and at Pete Seeger’s birthday party, and his perilous witness, from the front lines of fear, at scenes of political violence around the globe.
Examine his talents. How much faceting can one diamond sustain? Lyrical master of specifically Canadian imagery, startlingly complex guitar explorer, bold mystic with Christian / Taoist / Buddhist / Sufi sleeves proudly spread, one of the original bilingual folk singers (ses textes ont été imprimés en français depuis l’époque de Trudeau), international peace-seeker, singer of both delicacy and urgency, shy public figure, punky Gemini, outspoken political critic and beacon, muscular ecologist, memoirist (Rumours Of Glory, 2014), gentleman feminist, and member of the all-star Canadian chorus, the Northern Lights, that rose up to roar out the crucial ”Let’s show ‘em Canada still cares!” line on the African famine relief anthem “Tears Are Not Enough.”
Bruce is waiting out this current deterioration of normal at home in San Francisco, “quite a lot busier than what used to be normal,” he reported, “(fathering), listening and reading: Fernando Pessoa’s novel The Book of Disquiet, William Gibson’s Agency, and poetry by Charles Bukowski, Joan Logghe and Wislawa Szymborska. For music, it’s pretty random. Recent listens include YouTube videos of David Russell’s stunning guitar playing as well as various performances by Voces8, Charles Mingus’ Tijuana Moods (an old favorite), the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, and Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht.”
In honour of this birthday, one of Bruce’s first musical friends who celebrated his own 75th in March,, Sneezy Waters, recalled the beginning stages of his journey, saying “When I failed Grade 12 (from too much folly) my parents thought it would be a good idea to switch schools and buckle down. So at Nepean H.S. I ran into Bruce. He told me he played guitar, so I brought my Martin to school one day, and after school we went over to his house to jam. He brought out his guitar, which was a big Gibson hollow-body, just like Wes Montgomery played, and a lovely Ampeg jazz amp. He played so well but wasn’t the least [bit] boastful. He also loved Grant Green’s playing. We really had a good time and arranged many more jams.
“We eventually formed a band called The Children, along with my friends Nev Wells, Sandy Crawley and Chris Anderson. He played some keyboards for us and also played a 12-string, along with a Telecaster.
He was writing back then and encouraging the rest of us to write songs.
The rest, for both of us, is history.”
Fellow musician Ian Tamblyn, who worked with him on 2008’s Dancing Alone: The Songs of William Hawkins, remarked on Bruce’s “composure and openness” in the studio. He also had the honour, in 2014, of presenting Bruce with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Carlton University for his work in environmental, First Nations and social causes. In his presentation, Ian noted that “Bruce has had three overriding themes in his work: his great spiritual search, his dedicated call for social justice in the world, and his articulation of the collision of human relationships in these dangerous times.” He continued, “Bruce Cockburn has been both bold and courageous, whether it be in his work with Lloyd Axworthy to end the use of land mines, his environmental work with David Suzuki and Greenpeace, his work on behalf of the Unitarian Service, or his demands for democratic and environmental rights in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mozambique or Mali.”
His outstanding personal qualities have kept him rooted in long-lasting friendships. Publicist Jane Harbury, who has been buddies with him since their days together at Toronto’s fabled Riverboat, respects him for being always “funny, smart and gracious.” She elaborated: “He doesn’t change on a personal level. He has an ability to make people want to love him. And he remembers everything.” She recalled him best, “coming in the back door of the club in a fluffy old hat with his big dog Aroo.”
Illustrator Michael Wrycraft, who has designed the last nine of Bruce’s album covers, revealed that, “although he comes across as serious, Bruce is actually very light-hearted. Once you get past his professional presence, you find out he has a great laugh.” Their creative collaboration in bringing the unique visuals that accompany every new record together is consistently stress-free (with the exception of the altered American cover of You’ve Never Seen Everything, “which the record company thought looked like speed metal, or the devil.”). Of Bruce’s part in the process, Michael confided, “He plants a germ, a tiny seed of an idea, usually drawn from the album title; and after extensive chat, I come back with the work, and he says “That’s great!” Bruce’s loyalty to Michael’s vision has now stretched over 21 years. Manager Bernie Finkelstein has guided his career for over 50 years now, based upon a handshake.
Michael Reinhart is a composer/singer-songwriter and visual artist who has released five albums, the most recent being eCHO. He lives and works in both Montréal, QC and Edmonton, AB. Recently he’s been creating several new instrumental guitar pieces. He has been a Cockburn fan since his teens. “I loved that on those seminal albums, with so many instrumentals featured, above all I could hear the rich wood tone of the guitar, moreso than the metal of the strings, an analogue sound I still aspire to myself. I’ve never been much interested in doing cover versions, but among the few that I have attempted, ‘Foxglove’ was one that, despite the initial frustrations and physical pain involved, was invaluable to my finding my own way, my own style, my own sound.”
Michael has composed a gamboling birthday air to pay tribute to his musical mentor —
On behalf of all of his friends and fans at Roots Music Canada, we would like to say “Steady on Mr. C., and well done.”
24 April 2020 – Join us on May 7 at 2 pm (2 to 3:30 pm) for a virtual presentation celebrating the centenary of the Group’s founding with Ian Dejardin, Executive Director of the McMichael and curator of the exhibition “A Like Vision”: The Group of Seven at 100.
Followed by a special musical performance by Bruce Cockburn.
Please register below through Zoom and you will be sent a link to the event on Zoom in advance. You do not need any special equipment to participate. Simply click the link that is provided in your confirmation email from your computer, tablet or smartphone to access the presentation on the day of the event. The presentation is password protected so you will also need to enter the password found in the confirmation email.
Bernie Finkelstein: Bruce will be doing a song which we will keep as a surprise but its not one that you hear him do too often.
He will also be providing the gallery with an essay on Tom Thomson who actually is not a member of the Group of Seven but was their biggest influence. This essay will be part of a book the gallery is preparing but at this time I don’t know when it will be released. The book will have several essays from famous Canadians who are familiar with the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson. You might recall that Bruce played and wrote the Mount Lefroy Waltz for a display of guitars built by luthiers, *his was built by Linda Manzer, inspired by the Group. The version Bruce gave to the gallery for the show was solo but the song as you know it is on Crowing Ignites with a pretty cool little band. ~Bernie Finkelstein
Bruce’s feature length doc “Pacing The Cage” debuts on Canadian TV tonight. This is the same version that is on the DVD but has never been screened on TV before as the original as seen of Vision was only around 47 minutes long and this version is around 1 hour and 6 minutes.
MAR 04 2020 7:45 PM ON HS00
MAR 05 2020 5:00 AM ON HS00
MAR 05 2020 4:00 PM ON HS00
A funny thing happened to Bruce Cockburn as he started making his new album Crowing Ignites — whose track “Pibroch: The Wind in the Valley” is premiering exclusively below.
The all-instrumental acoustic album was designed to be a Speechless II, a sequel to his 2005 instrumental set Speechless, again compiling instrumental tracks from his albums with a few new compositions. “I set about looking for ideas for new material and ended up with so much of it that (Crowing Ignites) became its own album,” Cockburn tells Billboard. “I wasn’t expecting to come up with so much (new) stuff. The ideas just kept coming. So it’s not Speechless II. It’s its own thing entirely.”
The new 11-track set, recorded in San Francisco, where the Canadian-born Cockburn now resides, and produced by Colin Linden, is titled after the translation of the Latin motto ‘Accendit Cantu’ that appears on the Cockburn family crest. It is, of course, markedly different than Cockburn’s more traditional song-oriented releases, but he says the process is “equally enjoyable.” “The big difference is the obvious one — there are no lyrics,” Cockburn explains. “The way I write songs, the lyrics generally come first, and then it becomes a question of finding the right music to carry those lyrics. With instrumental pieces it’s more like, ‘Here’s an interesting riff on the guitar’ and that suggests something else and it grows from there. It’s a bit like scoring a film; You’ve got images, ideas, characters that need to be supported by the music but not overpowered by it. It’s considerably freer.”
Cockburn highlights series of events commemorating 1919 strike
by Scott Billeck
A Canadian music legend is among several artists who will headline a free concert to help commemorate the centennial one of the country’s largest and most influential labour movements.
Rise Up Smaller Poster
For 40 years, Bruce Cockburn has been writing and signing about the human experience. In June, the multi-time Juno Award winner and member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame will join Grammy winner and feminist icon Ani DiFranco along with several others for Rise Up 100: Songs for the Next Century Concert, one of four events being put on by Manitoba’s unions to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.
“We want to welcome people of all generations, all backgrounds, all abilities — everybody in our city — to join us and celebrate the Winnipeg General Strike together, with music, as a community,” said Winnipeg Folk Festival executive director Lynne Skromeda at a launch event on Tuesday. “Folk music has long been tied to the labour movement, advocating for social justice and providing a sense of connection to one another through divisive times, and we need this connection now more than ever.”
The free concert will take place in Old Market Square on June 8 between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m.