Bruce Cockburn - March 2019 - Firehouse SF - keebler
shadow

Bruce Cockburn 50th Anniversary !!

Bruce Cockburn's 50th Anniversary concertsIs it really fifty years ago that Bruce Cockburn’s first album came out ?

Indeed it is. His eponymous titled album which included “Going To The Country” and “Musical Friends” was released on April 7, 1970. Coincidentally it was also the first album released by True North records. TN 1 was it’s catalogue number.

Although mostly recorded in late 1969 the first album hit the stores and airwaves in 1970 and started the long long journey that continues to this day.

Here’s what Bruce has to say:

“In 1969, when I was feeling the need to record an album of the songs I’d been writing, I had no concept of what that might lead to. Not unusual for a young person I guess. In some organic way it felt like it was time. The future wasn’t really an issue. It still isn’t. For each of us, there’s a future or there isn’t. But looking back over the arc of fifty years of recording, performing, and travel, not to mention relationships and personal challenges, 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!”

Bruce has now released 34 albums and played thousands of concerts around the world, something that he continues to do to this day.

Bruce’s songs have been covered by many artists including Jimmy Buffet, kd Lang, Barenaked Ladies, Hawksley Workman, Jerry Garcia, Anne Murray, Elbow, Mary Balin, Judy Collins, Chet Atkins, The Rankin Family, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, and on and on.

The 50th Anniversary Shows will have Bruce doing songs from each decade that he’s made records in: 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, 2010,s and who knows, maybe even the 2020’s!

UPDATE: All these dates have been cancelled or re-booked. Please take a look here to check your tickets.

APR 10 STANFORD CA BING CONCERT HALL
APR 30 NORTHAMPTON MA ACADEMY OF MUSIC
MAY 1 BOSTON MA WILBUR THEATRE
MAY 2 BOOTHBAY HARBOR ME FLYING MONKEY CENTRE
MAY 3 PLYMOUTH NH BAILEY THEATRE
MAY 5 BURLINGTON VT HIGHER GROUND
MAY 7 FAIRFIELD CT STAGE ONE
MAY 8 FALL RIVER MA NARROW CENTER
MAY 9 NEWTON NJ NEWTON THEATRE
MAY 11 ANNAPOLIS MD RAM’S HEAD
MAY 12 ROCKY MOUNT VA HARVESTER CENTER
MAY 14 RALEIGH NC FLETCHER OPERA HOUSE
MAY 15 CHARLOTTE NC McGLOHON THEATRE
MAY 16 CHATTANOOGA TN SONGBIRD
MAY 17 ATLANTA GA CITY WINERY
MAY 20 PONTE VEDRA FL CONCERT HALL
MAY 21 CLEARWATER FL CAPITOL THEATRE
MAY 22 FT. LAUDERDALE FL BROWARD CENTER
MAY 24 KEY WEST FL KEY WEST THEATRE
SEP 4 TORONTO ON CNE BANDSHELL
OCT 16 PETERBOROUGH ON SHOWPLACE
OCT 17 OTTAWA ON NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE
OCT 18 BELLEVILLE ON EMPIRE THEATRE
OCT 20 KINGSTON ON ISABEL BADER CENTRE

Check for Tour Dates to be posted soon.

For More Information Please Contact:

Bernie Finkelstein 416-402-9937

bernie@finkelsteinmanagement.com


Bruce Cockburn article – interview by Mark Dunn

Iconic songwriter releases a haunting, masterful second instrumental
album.

Interview with Bruce Cockburn from a recent issue of the mighty Penguin Eggs Magazine. Bruce gives his usual articulate answers to my half-baked questions, offers insight into the acoustic guitar cutaway/full bout debate, and names some guitarists who have impressed him. ~ by Mark Dunn

Interview by Mark Dunn - 14 August 2019

Bruce Cockburn: A Journey Celebrated in Music

Bruce Cockburn views time as his most precious currency. The 74-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter intends to spend well what he has left, his role models being aging musicians such as John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) and Mississippi John Hurt (1892-1966), bluesmen who played their harps until their lips trickled blood, and strummed and pined through their last shaft of sunlight.

“In the context of contemplating retirement, I admire the old blues guys who never stopped working until they dropped,” says Cockburn. “That’s what I fully expect to be doing myself.”

Most of those blue legends kept playing out of financial necessity, of course, but they also loved what they did. “Growing old gracefully, I’ve learned, is much different than simply keeping going,” explains Cockburn. “We either die or we get old – those are the choices. At this point, I’ll choose growing old, and I’ll choose getting better as a musician, and as a human being.”

Over five decades, Cockburn, whose music has been formed by political dissent, religion, romance, and spiritual awakening, has released 34 albums over his lengthy career. He stresses that his work has experienced a large resurgence, now that he himself in his 70s, a period in life when many other people his age are shutting down the store, and segueing from living to passing away.

Indeed, a conversation with Cockburn isn’t merely a chronological recap of his life; it’s a vivacious discussion about today and tomorrow and the viaduct that links the two. It’s all about his willingness to explore new fields as an artist and as a human. His interaction with his fans, he says, has matured in novel ways in recent years. Up until a few years ago, he had resisted greeting audiences, or signing autographs following shows. Now all that is something he commonly does – and something he enjoys.

“There’s an element of unreality to those encounters,” says Cockburn. “When you are on stage, by default, you are larger than life, and that’s a distortion. If you stick around long enough to converse with people, it gets better and more interesting.

“I now have a multi-generational fan base, including kids who were raised on my stuff, among other things. These are people who’ve hung in there all these years, and now they’ve brought their own kids; what kind of huge compliment is that? The alternative is watching the audience turn into skeletons attached to the walls with cobwebs.”

|

Bruce Cockburn back on tour, plenty of books in tow

by ANN WRIGHT

14 November 2019

Bruce Cockburn has been on tour one day, and he’s already been given two bags of books.

Cockburn is an avid reader, and he has authored a book himself: “Rumours of Glory,” a memoir released in 2014.

“People give me books all the time,” said Cockburn in a phone interview just hours before performing in Vancouver, Canada, on a tour for “Crowing Ignites,” an all-instrumental CD that came out in September.

Cockburn, 74, is joined for this tour by his nephew, John Aaron Cockburn, who is adding accordion and harmonies to Cockburn’s music and will be with Bruce Cockburn at his show in Grand Junction at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St.

Touring with his nephew “has been real fun,” Cockburn said. “It’s been working quite well.”

And as a bonus for people who previously have been to a Cockburn show, “they won’t have seen this particular presentation before,” he said.

“We’re doing a few pieces from the new instrumental album, but there is a cross section of songs from through the decades,” he said.

Those decades, which start about 1970 with the Canadian musician’s debut release, include more than 30 albums and hundreds of songs with Cockburn’s genre-crossing guitar playing, dynamic lyrics and songwriting that has run the topical gamut from relationships to political and environmental activism.

His discography reflects a man constantly on the move, both professionally and mentally. While Cockburn isn’t slowing musically, he has made changes in recent years to his touring schedule.

“I’ve got a young daughter at home and I want to be home sometimes. My touring is structured so I can do that,” he said.

Instead of six weeks or more on the road, “now we go for a couple weeks and take time off,” he said.

Any longer than that and Cockburn might need a trailer for all the books he has been given.

Right now he’s struggling to focus on books with “serious stuff,” he said.

“I read way too much news and magazine stuff,” Cockburn said. It’s interesting, informative and mind-widening, “but a lot of it is an invitation to wallow in the worst of humanity.”

But he still can put a James Lee Burke novel away in a couple of days. He was given “Collected Stories” by Raymond Chandler for Christmas last year and “that was fun reading through those and it took very little effort,” he said of the noir mysteries. “They’re just fantastic.”

He did bring his own reading material for this tour, before the two bags of “wonderful” book gifts.

The first was “Laphman’s Quarterly.” It looks like a trade paperback, but it’s a magazine, he said.

“Climate” is the fall theme for the quarterly, with all kinds of juxtaposing articles, one by an ancient Greek writer, another by a current writer and so on.

It’s interesting reading and works well with being on tour because you can read a bit at a time, Cockburn said.

The other book he brought is the biography “Hitler’s Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism” by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.

It was sent to him by a friend, who looked over the book and wrote, “It talks about God and war and it sounds like it’s right up your alley,” recalled Cockburn with a chuckle.

“It’s an interesting and disturbing book,” he said.

But books aside and on to Grand Junction, where he last performed about 10 years ago. “I’m looking forward to coming and playing,” Cockburn said.

Credit: Grand Junction Sentinel


Bruce Cockburn: Crowing Ignites – Relix Review

November 12, 2019
by J. Poet

Even after more than 40 years of making music, Bruce Cockburn is still able to surprise and delight the ear with his expressive playing and impressive fingerpicking.

This new, all-instrumental album features 11 compositions, recorded with a small group of sympathetic players. His eclectic interests in folk, jazz, rock and world music are on display here, presented in his usual understated style, emphasizing the melodies and shining a light on his often virtuosic playing.

The tunes have a cinematic air and, without lyrics, they invite you to wander freely through the terrain of your own emotions. “April in Memphis” is a slow, funereal waltz that commemorates the enduring spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Shimmering, descending runs slide into solemn bass notes that hang in the air like mournful angels, while chimes toll quietly in the background.

“Seven Daggers” is another melancholy track, with sustained notes from Cockburn’s 12-string drifting under a warm, bubbling, percussive interplay between kalimba, charango, dulcimer, bells, chimes and producer Colin Linden’s booming baritone guitar.

The deep bluesy sound of “The Groan,” is amplified with Cockburn’s bent notes and Linden’s somber mandolin supported by the grim rhythm of clapping hands.

Cockburn shows his lighter side on “Sweetness and Light,” a bright, melodic number that echoes its title, with lively bass notes and vibrant single-note runs.

He also takes some excursions with the jazzy “The Mt. Lefroy Waltz”—a showcase for Cockburn’s quiet electric guitar, the cornet of Ron Miles and the subtle rhythms of Roberto Occhipinti’s stand-up bass—and ”Pibroch: The Wind in the Valley,” a pastoral jaunt full of iridescent arpeggios and bright, droning dulcimer tones.

Credit: Relix


No words required for Bruce Cockburn to say something – Crowing Ignites

November 7, 2019

by Mike Devlin

Bruce Cockburn is no different than other writers who make their living through music. Some new compositions sit around for years, such as Gifts, which was written in 1968 but didn’t appear on an album by Cockburn until 2011’s Small Source of Comfort. Others spend considerably less time on the shelf.

Making music is an interesting process for the 13-time Juno Award winner, who always seems to be flipping between the past and present, deeply adverse to the idea of stasis. He could have taken an easy route when making his latest recording, Crowing Ignites. He could have settled into an easy groove for his 26th studio album. But he chose to push forward into another phase of his career, one of the most illustrious in Canadian music. What emerged were 11 new instrumental compositions that find Cockburn still exploring the outer acres of his very capable, very esteemed guitar talents.

“Our original plan for this album was to make Speechless 2, because there’s a whole album left over from pieces we didn’t use,” Cockburn said of Crowing Ignites, the second instrumental album of his career after 2005’s Speechless. “We could have made a pretty nice album out of that, but I ended up with so much new stuff it took on its own life.”

The songs on Crowing Ignites say plenty, even though they don’t have words.

The new song Sweetness and Light was written on a particularly positive day, Cockburn said; the title simply reflected what he was feeling at the time. Easter was written on the holiday of the same name, while April in Memphis was written, on Martin Luther King Day, in reference to the anniversary of King’s death. Naming songs is never difficult, especially when lyrics are involved. But with an instrumental album, the task is more of an abstract exercise, he said with a laugh.

“There is an element of pointing at ideas or notions in the title-giving stage, but the music is just the music. The issue of ‘saying something’ comes into it not so much in the inventing of the music, because what I want to say is the music itself. But you have to give these pieces titles, otherwise you’re stuck with Opus Such and Such. I don’t care for that approach.”

Cockburn, 74, is ending a brief break from the road (spent at home in San Francisco, with his wife and daughter) with a string of dates to support Crowing Ignites. He’ll be joined for his nearly sold-out show at the Royal Theatre on Friday by his nephew, John Aaron Cockburn, on accordion and guitar. Cockburn enlists his full band when the shows call for sonic sophistication, but he’s enjoying the understated approach the duo set-up provides. “For this time period and the nature of the album — it’s basically just a bunch of solo guitar — it didn’t seem appropriate to celebrate that album with a band, particularly.”

Shows on his Canadian run won’t be heavily focused on the new album, and the new songs he is committed to doing will be presented in a redesigned manner, Cockburn said. “A piece called Blind Willie, for instance, where Colin Linden plays a great slide guitar part on the album, will be done by John Aaron on the accordion. They will have a different feel, but they give you the same kind of rootsy energy that the recorded version has.”

That Cockburn chose to make an album with no lyrics at a time when he could have said something powerful was a curious decision. Long outspoken, on topics ranging from Christianity and environmental disaster to war, many expected him to offer his eloquence on climates both political and personal. He never felt pressure to add his voice to chorus, however, which at this point in his career should go without saying. Of the songwriters working today, Cockburn — who recently offered his thoughts about the environment on False River, a song from 2017’s Bone on Bone — is as credentialled as anyone, and has nothing to prove in 2019.

“I haven’t felt motivated to add to the clamour,” he said. “Everybody who listens to me, or takes me seriously, knows what we’re dealing with here, and would agree with me on what I’d say about Donald Trump, et cetera. Donald Trump gets more attention than he deserves as it is, he doesn’t need help from me in that regard.

“It’s not like I’ve been silent on that stuff. People are wondering: ‘Why an instrumental album now?’ But I don’t think it’s a meaningful issue, that I did an instrumental album now. I could have done it at any time. It wasn’t a case of: ‘Jeez, I don’t want to talk about this now or talk about that now.’ There’s lots to talk about, but there’s also lots of talking going on, and nobody is really paying attention to what is being said.”

Credit: Times Colonist

mdevlin@timescolonist.com


Bruce Cockburn on Garcia Confusion, Echo Chambers and Singing Bowls

by Dean Budnick
November 6, 2019

“The original was to do Speechless Two,” Bruce Cockburn explains, while describing the origins of his new record, Crowing Ignites. On 2005’s Speechless, he recorded some of his prior instrumental compositions, placing a particular focus on his stellar acoustic-guitar work. (Speechless earned him a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Instrumentalist.) But, while Crowing Ignites once again finds Cockburn on an acoustic, this time the 11 compositions are all new. He explains, “We had a lot of unreleased material, including recordings that didn’t make it on Speechless. But, once I started coming up with a few new pieces, they just didn’t stop coming.”

I wasn’t there but, apparently, when you performed in the Relix office, some of our younger staffers were unaware that your song “Waiting for a Miracle” was not a Jerry Garcia original.

Yes, the kids recognized the song because they are paying attention to the Dead and Jerry’s music. That association is entirely complimentary—it’d be nicer if everyone went, “Oh, yeah, great song,” but that’s the way it goes. I was at the home of someone I know in Oakland, playing some songs to help cheer up his son, and this woman from next door sat down for a while. She was a big Dead fan and, when I played that song, she had no idea it wasn’t a Jerry Garcia song. She was quite skeptical of me claiming that I wrote it. I said, “Yeah, it’s my song,” and she looked at me like, “He’s bullshitting me.” [Laughs.]

These things happen. They don’t happen to me very often because, compared to other songwriters, not a huge number of famous people have recorded my songs. Some have tried, but I don’t know if I’ve ever met a Jimmy Buffett fan, for instance, who has made the connection that he’s recorded some of my songs.

As a young person, it didn’t really matter to me who wrote the song. “Ivory Joe Hunter, who the hell was that?” Now, it’s a bit more fashionable to pay attention to those things, but it’s not that big a deal.

I imagine that some people have been surprised that you released an all-instrumental record during this politically charged era?

Yes, apparently everybody’s expecting me to say something bad about Donald Trump. But everybody else is doing that already; I don’t need to do that, too. He gets enough attention.

Plus, when I look around, everyone’s nattering away: Liberals are bad. Liberals are weird. Liberals are gonna do something bad to my kid. And then, on the liberal side of it, all the conservatives are gonna do these bad things. It’s ridiculous. But who’s listening? We’re all only listening inside our little echo chamber.

What we need is something that promotes unity, something to pull us together and to allow to look at each other and go, “Hey, we all appreciate the same thing here.” That happened in a different kind of way in the 1980s, with Stealing Fire. In the Reagan era, I’d play these shows, and I’d look out at the audience. In response to songs like “Nicaragua” or “If I Had a Rocket Launcher,” people were looking at each other going, “I’m not alone here” because there was no media coverage at that time with a dissenting view. But when all these people were in a concert hall and listening to this music, they were looking at each other and going, “Oh, yeah, all these people feel the way I do about it.” It’s empowering, and a great feeling for me, to witness something like that.

What we need now is something that will come out and do the same thing in a much more difficult context, where you’re dealing with people that just don’t agree with each other. Many of us are coming to recognize that it’s not sustainable to continue like this. There are people interested in exploiting this intentional fragmentation. We’ve got to fix it. I don’t think a song can fix it, but I think a body of popular sentiments expressed in song might.

The song “Bells of Gethsemane,” on Crowing Ignites , features a number of singing bowls. How did that came about?

I went into the studio with all the pieces composed, except for that one and “Seven Daggers.” Over the years, I’ve accumulated a number of singing bowls. They sound so beautiful, and I’ve just always wanted to use them for something. But, the application of them to my normal music is kind of limited because I can’t play the guitar and play those bowls at the same time. Also, they’re not tuned to A440; they’re tuned to whatever they’re tuned to and they’re suggestive of notes, but they are not very clear that way. You have to establish a context. I just thought, “I want to make a piece out of singing bowls. I want to build something using those.” I have all these other things—orchestral chimes, and various other ring-y things that I’ve accumulated. The intention was to build a piece out of all that stuff. So, I put down a couple layers of singing bowls, chimes and various other things, and added the baritone guitar over the top. I was very pleased with how it came out. It’s exciting for me to get that rich sound into a recording.

Your songs often have overt political messages. How do you respond when people receive them in a way that doesn’t entirely align with your intent?

I have to let go of my intentions for a song once it’s out there. I’d go crazy trying to understand where everybody could possibly take my ideas, or how they want to interpret them, unless it’s something really flagrant or they’ve completely got it backward. If someone came up, for instance, and said, “Oh, I really like that ‘Rocket Launcher’ song. I really want to go down and kill Guatemalan soldiers; it gave me all kinds of energy to do that,” then I’d have to take them up on it. I’d have to say, “Oh, no, that’s not the idea.”

Think of an abstract painting. If someone were to have a conversation about Salvador Dalí and his melting clocks, I’m sure he would have something to say, but it would be foolish if he thought that what he understood those things to represent was universally grasped by everyone. It’s true no matter how simple an idea seems to be. Something like motherhood means different things to different people. We can talk about motherhood and apple pie, but there are some people who didn’t have a very good time with motherhood or don’t enjoy apple pie. You have to have a lighter grasp of your intentions, once the piece is out there. Once it’s out, it’s up for grabs.

Credit: Relix Newsletter & Daily 7


SeedChange.org

Bruce Cockburn wants you to change the food system

October 16, 2019

The way food is grown and distributed today means exploitation, displacement and hunger for nearly 1 billion family farmers.

Longtime SeedChange (formerly USC Canada) champion, Bruce Cockburn wants that to change. Listen to his message below and let’s remember who grows our food. Let’s work toward justice for small-scale farmers.

Besides being a legendary Canadian musician, Bruce Cockburn has been a donor and champion of our work for nearly 50 years. He became the voice of our public service announcements when SeedChange founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, retired. He also travelled to our programs in Nepal and Mali, witnessing first-hand the impact of donors’ support.

weseedchange.org

Related articles: Celebrate Seeds


Live at WFUV Studio

16 October 2019 –
by Paul Cavalconte

Canadian singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Bruce Cockburn has given us a lifetime of deep songs and engaging performances. His newest effort is an all-instrumental album called Crowing Ignites. The odd phrase is a literal translation of the Latin expression that is on the Cockburn family coat of arms.


https://www.wfuv.org/content/bruce-cockburn-2019
– Click Through for audio interview and photo slide show

Bruce Cockburn Live WFUV studio photo Nora Doyle July 2019

That anchor in tradition and Cockburn’s identity drives the new music, which he says invites participation. As a songwriter who skips the words on this go-around, the listener is challenged to use their imagination to fill in the blanks.

In Studio A, Cockburn performed the flamenco-tinged “Angels In The Half Light,” and he also sang “States I’m In,” from the 2017 release, Bone On Bone.

As he also told me in our conversation, life and his music is a journey that finds it’s own path. Fifty years after his debut album, Cockburn recalls his own 50th birthday, and how life magically got easier and more rewarding because so much of the heavy lifting was already done.

[Recorded: 7/18/19; Engineer: Sam Lazarev; Producer: Sarah Wardrop

Bruce Cockburn in Studio A (photo by Nora Doyle/WFUV)

Credit: WFUV.org


Bruce Cockburn: From A Yorkville Hippie To An Officer Of The Order Of Canada

11 October 2019 –

Musician Bruce Cockburn has been a singer and songwriter of poetic lyrics and bon mots for more than five decades.

In Conversation:

There are times when being a part of history, albeit a tumultuously famous (some might even say infamous) one, becomes a badge of honour, the tipping point from which many other seismic life events are launched. Toronto’s Yorkville scene in the mid-to-late 1960s and early 1970s was such a place. Although today’s well-heeled visitors to the area might not be able to fathom it, Yorkville in those earlier days was comparable, on a smaller scale, to New York’s bumping Greenwich Village. The hub of a creative, nonconformist, bohemian, longhaired subculture, Yorkville’s hippie scene was entrenched in a tie-dye plethora of folk, rock and jazz music, suede and leather-fringed jackets, a surfeit of free love and, oh yes, a lot of marijuana smoking, which five decades later would become legal — a fact that no one would have imagined at the time.

Bruce Cockburn - Dolce Magazine - 11 October 2019 - photo Carlos A. Pinto

One of Yorkville’s greatest contributions to music aficionados was the exceptional quality of musicians who got their start in the 40-plus coffee houses and bars that dotted the streets of the Yorkville scene, which encompassed Hazelton Avenue, Cumberland Street, Avenue Road and Bay Street. The famed Penny Farthing coffee house attracted big-name talent such as James Taylor, and Simon & Garfunkel. And the renowned Riverboat Coffee House, where stars such as Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young played, is also where Ottawa native Bruce Cockburn — folk singer, songwriter, author and multiple Juno awardee — often played. On the big stage, the singer shared a concert bill with a who’s-who of musical proficiency, including The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream. With his ever-present round-rimmed spectacles, and his long, dark hair curling out from underneath a fedora trimmed with leather strips, Cockburn’s gentle, commanding voice and poetic lyrics captivated audiences. They knew all the words to his wildly popular, songs-for-the-decades hits, such as “Wondering Where the Lions Are” (1979), “Rumours of Glory” (1980), “The Trouble with Normal” (1983), “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” (1984), “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” (1984) and “Call It Democracy” (1986), to name just a few.

A man whose words shone like beacons in his lyrics, Cockburn’s ability to interact with others throughout his younger years was one that was fraught with angst and rage. “I was wrapped up in myself — not in a narcissistic way, but in terms of mistrust of the world. I was not open to other people,” Cockburn says. “A lot of my adult life has been a big learning curve in terms of empathizing and loving people. In the process of navigating through life, I have learned things — sometimes quickly, and sometimes as an uneven trickle. Every time there has been a discovery, there has likely been a song. We all have a lot in common throughout our lives, including scars. None of us gets out of our childhood/youth without some damage. The scars unite us; if we find those scars in a person and are open to the energy they offer from that place, then it is a binding agent. We are all in this together.”


Scroll Up