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Cockburn performs at St. Lawrence Acoustic State

Thursday, January 21, 2016 – The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage has brought the area some pretty big names and some fantastic talent, but none more so than their headliner on Feb. 21 when Bruce Cockburn will be gracing the stage.

“I would say that this is the single biggest show we have done at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage,” said Sandra Whitworth, SLAS board member. “And I say that even though we’ve brought in artists like Serena Ryder, Garnet Rogers and Shane Kayczan. But Bruce is so widely known as Canadian music royalty. We are hugely excited to have him in.”

The concert is already sold out and audiences are sure to be pleased with what Cockburn will be offering.

“There’s a few new songs,” said Cockburn in a phone interview. “My hope is to get an album together this year sometime, towards the end of the year. The show will be a cross-section, which is typical of me.” Cockburn said when there is a new album already out, there is a lot of emphasis on it during a show, but that is not the case this time.

“So there will be some new material, some brand new stuff people haven’t heard,” he said. “Otherwise it will be a cross-section of whatever. There are always a few of the ones that I feel like people pay the money to hear. Lovers In A Dangerous Time, Wondering Where The Lions Are, stuff like that tends to be in every show because people want that stuff. At least they appear to.”

Cockburn said he isn’t quite sure what he is going to do at the concert just yet, but if anyone has seen him in concert the past couple of years it will be similar.

“It’s a solo show,” he said. “That defines certain parameters of what happens.”

Cockburn said his daughter requested he include a song from the 1970s, Free To Be, “which I haven’t performed in at least 40 years,” he said. “Whether I will get that together or not I don’t know yet, but I am under some pressure to do so.”

When asked if his music has changed at all through his career, he said he prefers to think of it as growth or development.

“I think it’s (still) recognizable,” he said. “If you put my last album and my first album back-to-back, you would hear it is the same guy. But there are a lot of other elements I have acquired, a certain amount of guitar techniques that I have acquired over the years. There has been change and what I am doing right now, especially in a solo context, is going to sound more like the stuff from the early 1970s than the stuff I did in the 1980s.”

Cockburn said people familiar with his work with bands in songs like Lovers In A Dangerous Time, Tokyo, If I Had A Rocket Launcher and others that were on the radio, will see a difference in his show.

“It kind of depends on what people are expecting,” he said.

Cockburn said he draws inspiration for his music from “life, the universe and everything.”

“The songs spring from an emotional response to a situation that I am confronted by,” he said. “It might be a situation in my own life or it might be a situation in the life of someone who is close to me or whose company I find myself in. It might just be something kind of geographical. But it all starts with this emotional response and then I think where does it go from here.”

Cockburn said with a song like If I Had A Rocket Launcher [I Wish I Had a Rocket Launcher], it was specific to a place and time. Most of his other music can be applied to any place and time and they wouldn’t seem out of place.

Whitworth said everyone on the SLAS board has seen Cockburn perform at different points throughout his career in both large festival settings and more intimate venues.

“Of course his songs are so widely known, but when I saw him two or three years ago in Toronto at Roy Thompson Hall, it was the guitar playing that gave me chills,” said Wentworth. “He is such a masterful guitarist.”

Whitworth said the concert has been four years in the making, but schedules never seemed to line up until now.

“In the end it seems particularly fitting that we were able to include him in our series this year, after we made the move to the new venue at the Upper Canada Playhouse,” she said.

Cockburn said it is his first trip to Morrisburg and he is looking forward to it.

“I hope people will be pleased,” he said. “And perhaps they will be a little surprised or maybe they won’t. But I think we will have a good time and I am looking forward to that.”

Credit: By Lois Ann Baker, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder –

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