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BRUCE COCKBURN > Studio Bell

Bruce Cockburn at Studio Bell on writing songs and rhythms

January 24, 2018
While visiting Studio Bell, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Cockburn reflected on words and rhythm, and how they play into his songwriting process.

The National Music Centre and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame held the formal plaque ceremony as part of Bruce Cockburn’s induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on January 21, 2018.

The National Music Centre in Calgary has been the physical home of three Canadian Music Halls of Fame—the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection—since opening in 2016. Members of all three Halls of Fame have visited their plaques, such as Sarah McLachlan, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tom Cochrane, Burton Cummings, Bob Ezrin, Randy Bachman and The Tragically Hip, to name a few.


Handwritten lyrics by Bruce Cockburn part of National Music Centre exhibit

by Eric Volmers
Updated: December 13, 2017

Music Museum - NAC - Adam Fox - photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Music Museum – NAC – Adam Fox – photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

It’s a small battered notebook, filled with scribbled lines, multiple revisions and the frayed edge of a page that has been mysteriously ripped out.

It also represents the inner workings of one of Canada’s most beloved songwriters and the early glimmers of one of his most beloved songs. Bruce Cockburn’s handwritten lyrics for Lovers in a Dangerous Time are currently on display as part of The National Music Centre’s temporary exhibit in Studio Bell to honour Cockburn’s 2017 induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“You can see things have been scratched out and ideas are written around,” says Adam Fox, director of programs for the National Music Centre. “You can almost get a sense of their compositional method; just how they are crossing things out and putting things in different order.”

Bruce Cockburn notebook - photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Bruce Cockburn notebook – If A Tree Fa;lls – photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

The notebook, which also includes handwritten lyrics for Cockburn’s politically charged hit If I Had a Rocket Launcher, is on display, as is his lyrics from 1988s If A Tree Falls. They are both on loan from McMaster University, where many of the songwriter’s archives have been housed since he donated them in 2013.

The temporary exhibit, which will be on display on the fifth floor of Studio Bell until the fall of 2018, celebrates a new batch of inductees to the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Both now have a physical home at the National Music Centre, as does the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Continue reading Calgary Herald article

Bruce Cockburn guitar signed - NMC -photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn’s signed guitar on display National Music Centre – photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn guitar signed - NMC -photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn’s signed guitar on display National Music Centre – photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn notebook Lovers in a Dangerous Time - NMC - photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn notebook Lovers in a Dangerous Time – NMC – photo Madison McSweeney

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