Bruce Cockburn - March 2019 - Firehouse SF - keebler
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Bruce Cockburn: Kicking at the Darkness for 50 Years (and counting!)

by John Joseph Thompson
February 6, 2022

True Tunes Podcast 6Feb2022

We are beyond thrilled to welcome one of the most essential artists of the last half-century to the True Tunes Podcast. Bruce Cockburn has written over 350 songs and released 30 studio or live albums since 1970, and four different compilations. 22 of his albums have been certified either Gold or Platinum in Canada. He has received 13 Juno Awards, is in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2001 he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony that included testimonials by Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett, Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies, and Bono. He holds multiple honorary Doctorate degrees – and continues to write and record. He recently released a 30-song collection of his singles called – simply – Bruce Cockburn’s Greatest Hits 1970 – 2020.

Give it a listen https://truetunes.com/Cockburn50/



Choices of rhetoric and choices of action – An interview with Bruce Cockburn about art and activism and a lifetime of kicking at the darkness

by Róisín West – Monitor Magazine

1 January 2022 – On the evening of June 26, 2002, activists and organizers from around the world settled into worn velvet seats of Calgary’s Uptown Cinema. This was the seventh day of non-violent protests against the G8 Kananaskis meetings, the first meetings of their kind to be held after 9/11. As the lights lowered, the concert organizer, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir’s Chris Brown, took to the stage. He was soon joined by the Brothers Creeggan of Barenaked Ladies fame and Bruce Cockburn. The Monitor recently reached out to Cockburn to discuss that concert and his lifetime of activism, catching up with him as he prepared to head out for his 2nd Attempt 50th anniversary Tour across the United States and Canada.

The Monitor: Music has always played a vital role in social justice movements. There are, of course, protest singers, like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, whose craft is centred around activism. But other artists like yourself and Tracy Chapman tend to weave social justice issues in as part of a broader tapestry. I’m wondering if you agree with that assessment and how you situate social justice within the landscape of your work?

Bruce Cockburn: Yeah, I do agree with that. I have not felt obliged to present myself or to try to create songs or a body of work that is focused on any one particular issue. I’ve always seen what I do as being about life in the broadest sense, whatever that means. And life in the broadest sense for me includes a moral consideration. I was raised to care about what happens to people around me, and the world in general, and to pay attention to it. And on top of that, adding the spiritual values that I have, including the notion of loving my neighbour. Well, you know, you can’t love your neighbour and ignore your own complicity in your neighbour’s pain. So that’s the starting point for my approach to those things, to songs that might be said to be about issues.

After that it’s circumstantial. I wrote the songs about Central America, which are the most blatant statements of that aspect of what I do, because I was there. I experienced the things I experienced and heard from other people about the things they were experiencing firsthand. Those things had an impact.

You only write your own feelings like that. I feel like that’s my job—to translate what I’ve experienced of life into something that’s communicable to everybody and can be shared by everybody. I’m always going to be writing from my perspective. And I think that in the case of the instances of injustice that I’ve mentioned in songs, those feelings would have been shared by any thinking person or feeling person in those circumstances.

So I feel like there’s something to share there [with people who] have not been in those circumstances or haven’t been exposed to those things. The songs are a way of kind of exposing and pointing a finger: there’s something you should look at.

I don’t feel like it’s my job to sell an idea to people, but I do feel that it’s appropriate to try to be persuasive. And in suggesting that people would probably feel the way I do it, if they were confronted with these things.

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Bruce Cockburn with James Meadow | Where The Lions Are interviews – video

19 December 2021 – A few weeks ago I had the chance to meet Bruce in a long and deep interview. He shared some chapters of his long journey in life and music, from his beginnings at Berkley Music School in Boston to his latest release, Bruce Cockburn Greatest Hits 1970-2020, from the music scene in Ottawa and Toronto to his new life in San Francisco. A profound narrative through reflections, encounters and songs of an artist who continues to stray from familiar territory and elude any kind of definition.

I am so grateful for the time he dedicated to me and for the legacy of his songs. If you have the chance, get some tickets for his upcoming shows… he’s as great as ever!

Many thanks also to Bernie Finkelstein, for making this happen, and to Daniel Keebler for the beautiful cover photo (and many others) and all the support. Thanks to Victor Johnson for a footage of a recent performance of Stolen Land. I hope you’ll enjoy! ~ James Meadow

Direct Link


Folk Roots Radio – Jan Hall – Episode 611 – Bruce Cockburn In Conversation

11 December 2021 – Bruce Cockburn joins us on Episode 611 of Folk Roots Radio for a wonderful in-depth conversation about his new career spanning retrospective, “Greatest Hits 1970-2020”, a double CD set featuring 30 songs he has released as singles. After 34 albums, 13 Junos, thousands of shows across the world and numerous other awards, it’s been quite the career. The good news is that Bruce Cockburn is still going strong, still working on new songs, and still playing shows. In fact, this month he sets out on his 50th Anniversary tour. It’s actually Take 2 – because COVID put paid to the first version last year. There was a lot to talk about which is why we’ve given over the whole of this episode to the interview. So settle down and enjoy Bruce Cockburn… in Conversation on Folk Roots Radio & Jan Hall.

LISTEN: In Conversation with Bruce Cockburn – Greatest Hits 1970-2020

The interview date for this was November 23, 2021. Thanks Daniel Keebler for this info.


JPR Live Session: Bruce Cockburn

On Tuesday, December 14 at Noon, JPR will broadcast a JPR Live Session with Bruce Cockburn on Open Air.

LISTEN: JPR Live Session with Bruce Cockburn

One of Canada’s finest artists, Bruce Cockburn has enjoyed an illustrious career shaped by politics, spirituality, and musical diversity. His remarkable journey has seen him embrace folk, jazz, rock, and worldbeat styles while travelling to such far-flung places as Guatemala, Mali, Mozambique, and Nepal, and writing memorable songs about his ever-expanding world of wonders.

Bruce Cockburn at JPR Oregon 11 Dec 2021

With 34 albums, 13 JUNO wins, two Hall of Fame inductions, Officer of The Order of Canada — and new inductee into Canada’s Walk of Fame this year — all spanning a 50+ year career — it’s no small task to encapsulate Bruce Cockburn’s inimitable imprint when it comes to Canadian music and culture.

Throughout his career, Cockburn has deftly captured the joy, pain, fear, and faith of human experience in song. Whether singing about retreating to the country or going up against chaos, tackling imperialist lies or embracing ecclesiastical truths, he has always expressed a tough yet hopeful stance: to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight. “We can’t settle for things as they are,” he once warned. “If you don’t tackle the problems, they’re going to get worse.”

LISTEN: JPR Live Session with Bruce Cockburn

Tunes:
Let Us Go Laughing
Lovers In A Dangerous Time


Canada’s Walk of Fame interview CBC Q w/ Tom Powers

CBC Radio · Posted: Dec 13, 2021 9:00 AM ET

Canada's Walk of Fame banner 2021

After five decades in music, iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn has released a greatest hits collection, titled Greatest Hits (1970-2020). On top of that, he’s being inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame this week. Cockburn returned to Q to discuss the honour with Tom Power and look back on his illustrious career.

LISTEN: Walk of Fame interview

Bruce’s comments on receiving Walk of Fame award


Songcraft Spotlight on Songwriters

Ep. 180 – BRUCE COCKBURN (“If I Had a Rocket Launcher”)

LISTEN

23 November 2021 – Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Bruce Cockburn. The Canadian singer-songwriter’s more than 50-year career has produced 34 albums, 22 of which have been certified Gold or Platinum in his home country. He has won 13 Juno Awards, and is a member of both the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Bruce joins us to chat about his career and his new 2-CD career-spanning compilation, entitled Greatest Hits: 1970-2020, which will be released on December 3rd.


Bruce Cockburn Interview by Bob Gersztyn – bluesrockreview.com

Bruce Cockburn photo by Bob Gersztyn

2 November 2021 – Bruce Cockburn is a singer songwriter that is cross between Phil Ochs and Robert Johnson. Lyrically his compositions are politically and spiritually charged with driving hook-laden melodies while they are delivered using stellar guitar accompaniment. Cockburn is one of those performers that can entertain audiences equally as well with either an electric guitar and full band or solo with only an acoustic guitar. Musically he is a guitar virtuoso with a baritone voice that has mesmerized his fans for five decades. His songs cover a gamut of subjects ranging from politics and human rights to the environment and religion. His extraordinary guitar playing prowess covers a range of styles from jazz and finger picking country blues to hard rock with feedback laden guitar solos. Over the past five decades, he’s released over two dozen studio albums of original compositions and entertained audiences around the world. His travels through Central America along with Europe and Asia as far as Tibet during the 1980s gave him the subject matter for some of his best songs. At 76 years of age, he is still going strong, and prior to embarking on a concert tour beginning in December, “True North Records” is releasing a 30 song double CD of Bruce Cockburn’s Greatest Hits (1970-2020). Blues Rock Review talked to Bruce about his upcoming tour and delved into the message of his music.

How did you choose the 30 songs on your upcoming Greatest Hits (1970 – 2020)?

They are all singles. It’s a bit of an exaggeration I’d say but they were all songs that we would have liked to have been hits and some of them actually were. They are all the singles that were fired in the direction of radio.

I’m very familiar with your work because I’ve been following you since 1980 and have just about all your albums so I know that even if all of them weren’t radio hits they are the ones that stand out.

Among them certainly are the songs that people have kind of embraced more than others so we can use the term hits metaphorically. Some of those songs were not particularly noticed, others were, and some of them were noticed in certain regions and others in other regions and that kind of thing. So some of them like “Rocket Launcher,” “Wondering Where the Lions Are,” among others got significant national attention so that made them obvious. So basically it’s all the songs that had been singles and I think that we left one out that we intended to include.

What are your favorite three out of the thirty?

“Night Train” is one of my favorites of the songs I’ve written along with “All the Diamonds in the World” and “Mama Just Wants to Barrelhouse All Night Long.” Those are always songs that I liked to play myself the whole way along and not just to record or perform but myself, “I’m able to relate to those songs over and over, and over and over again. They’re the ones that stand out in my mind. “Going to the Country” I think stands up pretty well. It’s hard to pick favorites really.

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Ottawa Mission’s Blue Door at your Door

15 October 2021 – Bruce Cockburn will be participating in a fund-raising virtual concert for the Ottawa Mission on November 6. He will be doing a couple of numbers for this fund-raiser.

Blue Door fundraiser

Ottawa Mission’s Blue Door at your Door to showcase big-name musical artists Organizers hope to raise $300K to help hungry and homeless as event sponsors match up to $95K in donations.

Here’s how it works: ottawamission.akaraisin.com/ui/bluedooratyourdoor2021

More Info: Ottawa Missions Blue Door Showcase Big Name Musical Artists