There is truth in the statement that some things get better with age. Case in point, Bruce Cockburn’s new album O Sun O Moon serves up a heaping helping of musical goodness.
Recorded in Nashville, this is Cockburn’s 38th studio release, and from the get-go Cockburn reminds us that he still has plenty to say. His brilliant guitar playing is complemented by a crew of superb musicians, and this has allowed him to experiment with some different styles over the course of the 12 tracks.
The album starts with “On A Roll” and Cockburn plays a bluesy lead guitar riff that immediately captures attention. He reminds us that he’s still here with the lyric, “time takes its toll, but in my soul I’m on a roll”. As with every track on O Sun O Moon, the production is first-rate, allowing every nuance to be heard.
“Push Comes to Shove” is the third track on the album, and this lovely acoustic number has a distinctly ‘Parisian café’ vibe. However, Cockburn reminds of his environmental activism with lines like, “I could sail what’s left of the seven seas”. The effect is poignant and bittersweet.
The most unusual song on this release, as also acknowledged by Cockburn, is “King of The Bolero”. Over a backdrop of New Orleans-style horns and a woozy clarinet line, it paints a vivid picture of an old barroom musician using imagery that Cockburn had in his head for years and finally decided to set to music. It is a standout, and if it makes its way into his live shows, it will quickly become a favourite.
The album closes with another jazzy number, “When You Arrive”. The lyrics describe Cockburn feeling his age, but also accepting the fact that he is getting older. His talents as a lyricist are on full display here, including a great line that says, “You’re limping along like a three-legged canine, backbone creaking like a cheap shoe”.
O Sun O Moon reminds us why Bruce Cockburn has had such a successful career, but amazingly, especially after 37 previous releases, that he also has something new to say. This is a fantastic album, from start to finish.