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Bruce Cockburn

Sunday, September 29, 2019, 7:30 PM

Few recording artists are as creative and prolific as Bruce Cockburn. Since his self-titled debut in 1970, the Canadian singer-songwriter has issued a steady stream of acclaimed albums every couple of years. But that output suddenly ran dry in 2011 following the release of "Small Source of Comfort." There were good reasons for the drought. For one thing, Cockburn became a father again with the birth of his daughter Iona. Then there was the publication of his 2014 memoir "Rumours of Glory."I didnt write any songs until after the book was published because all my creative energy had gone into three years of writing it, Cockburn explains, from his home in San Francisco. There was simply nothing left to write songs with. As soon as the book was put to bed, I started asking myself whether I was ever going to be a songwriter again.Such doubt was new to the man whos rarely been at a loss for words as hes distilled political views, spiritual revelations and personal experiences into some of popular musics most compelling songs. What spurred Cockburn back into songwriting was an invitation to contribute a song to a documentary film about the late, seminal Canadian poet Al Purdy and he was off to the races. "Bone On Bone," Cockburns 33rd album, arrives with 11 new songs, including 3 Al Purdys, a brilliant, six-minute epic that pays tribute to Purdys poetry. Cockburn explains its genesis: I went out and got Purdys collected works, which is an incredible book. Then I had this vision of a homeless guy who is obsessed with Purdys poetry, and hes ranting it on the street. The song is written in the voice of that character. The chorus goes, I'll give you three Al Purdys for a twenty dollar bill. Heres this grey-haired dude, coat tails flapping in the wind, being mistaken for the sort of addled ranters you run into on the streetexcept hes not really ranting, hes reciting Al Purdy. The spoken word parts of the track are excerpts from Purdys poems. After that, once the ice was broken, the songs just started coming. Cockburns rugged fingerpicking style on the Dobro perfectly matches Purdys plainspoken words and the grizzled voice of his street character. A similar guitar style can be heard on two of the next songs Cockburn wrote, the gospel-like Jesus Train, and Caf Society, a bluesy number about people who gather at his local coffee shop to sip their java and talk about the state of the world. Theres a prevalent urgency and anxious tone to much of the album, which Cockburn attributes to living in America during the Trump era. But, more than anything, Bone on Bone amounts to the deepest expression of Cockburns spiritual concerns to date. The 12-time Juno winner and Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee turned away from traditional Christianity in the mid-1970s toward a quest for the more all-inclusive mysticism he documents in his memoir. And its that kind of spirituality that figures prominently in Jesus Train and Twelve Gates to the City. In Looking and Waiting, Cockburn sings of scanning the skies for a beacon from the divine. Its a song of faith and frustration, says Cockburn of the latter. "...Tired of looking in from the outside. My MO has always been to be aware of the divine...that dimension...always dealing with being stuck in a kind of observers position with respect to all that. I know its there. I don't really see as faith so much as knowledge. Others may have different ideas about those things, but for me, I dont have to struggle to believe in God, or the notion that God cares what happens to me. But I do have to struggle with being in a conscious, intentional relationship. That underlies a lot of these songs. Forty Years in the Wilderness ranks alongside Pacing the Cage or All the Diamonds as one of Cockburns most starkly beautiful folk songs. There have been so many times in my life when an invitation has come from somewhere...the cosmos...the divine...to step out of the familiar into something new. Ive found its best to listen

Cost: $40 General Admission / $50 Center Section
Tickets: http://www.ticketnetwork.com/tix/tickets-3904955.aspx

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416 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55454

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