May 6, 2014 – These days Bruce Cockburn has settled in San Francisco. For a long-wandering troubadour, it’s a good place to land.
The climate is pretty nice and his wife and child live there too.
That doesn’t mean he’s not touring these days. In fact, the Ottawa-raised singer-songwriter is headed to his hometown in support of a poet.
There is a move afoot to restore the Ontario home of the late poet Al Purdy as a writers’ retreat. The home is in Prince Edward County.
So, Saturday night at Library and Archives Canada, Cockburn will perform in an event that is part of the Spur Festival of art, culture and ideas.
“Al Purdy was a fantastic poet,” said Cockburn. “It’s just nice to be able to be part of anything that has something to do with him.”
Cockburn has a large playbook from which he can draw.
“I have more fun playing whatever is newest usually. Sometimes I have fun discovering a new way of doing an old song that’s more enjoyable. It is the case that people want to hear certain songs. They need to get some of what they want.
But you couldn’t do a show that would offer ony the oldies. You have to mix it up.”
For the Purdy benefit he is just doing a few songs, he says. “I may chose wordier ones because it’s a poetry thing.”
When he thinks of the Purdy project, Cockburn is a bit envious.
“I’d love to have a retreat, but I don’t have any time to retreat anywhere.”
One reason for that is Cockburn, who turns 69 later this month, is the father of a two-year-old girl. And “she is lively.”
Cockburn remarried a few years ago and his wife is American. For a while they lived in New York, but his spouse got a job in San Francisco and the move happened. But he did spend some time commuting from the east to the west by car, no less.
“I liked the drive. I did so much driving across Canada in the ‘80s, I kind of missed it.” But eventually he made the move.