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