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Bruce Cockburn - Small Source of Comfort

  by Lisa Torem

published: 6 / 4 / 2011

Bruce Cockburn - Small Source of Comfort
Label: True North Records
Format: CD


Evocative and powerful latest album from Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn, influenced partially by his travels through several war-torn countries

In his first studio album in six years, 'Small Sources of Comfort', Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist and world-traveller, Bruce Cockburn, takes his time spinning powerful narratives set to savory melodies. This recording is prolific Cockburn’s 31st. 'The Iris of the World' opens the collection. It is both humorous and introspective and awash in personal reflections of spiritual growth, as is the closing number, ‘Gifts.’ The instrumental work across the recording is every bit as potent as the varied themes. ‘Bohemian 3-Step’ is the first of five instrumentals; originally, it was meant to be a film score, co-written by Jenny Scheinman, nevertheless, it serves as a beautiful four-minute cinematic gem; the nuanced guitar runs and sombre baselines fuse miraculously. ‘Lois on the Autobahn,’ the lengthiest of the instrumentals, pays tribute to Cockburn’s mother, and conveys a strong feeling of effortless movement. Several numbers were written after Cockburn’s visits to war-ravaged countries. ‘Comets of Kandahar’ was written after the social activist visited Afghanistan. He has also participated in a number of political documentaries, which have shed light on the personal struggles of everyday people. ‘Each One Lost’ finds Cockburn paying tribute to fallen soldiers. “Each one lost is a vital part of you and me,” he sings, his earth-tinged baritone building to a crescendo. After seeing two Canadian soldiers being sent home in coffins, the songwriter wrote this gripping remembrance. The more whimsical Cockburn shines through in ‘Call Me Rose’ – a tongue-in-cheek fantasy about former US president Richard Nixon. coming back to life in a more vulnerable incarnation: “My name is Richard Nixon/Only now I’m a girl.” ‘Boundless’ contains one of the most riveting choruses; Jenny Scheinman’s violin passages add sheer elegance to the moving ‘Radiance’ and Tim Lauer’s accordion tops it off. Cockburn’s guitarmanship is both rich and raw; a perfect vehicle for his roving observations

Track Listing:-
1 The Iris Of The World
2 Call Me Rose
3 Bohemian Sister
4 Radiance
5 Five Fifty-One
6 Driving Away
7 Lois On The Autobahn
8 Boundless
9 Called Me Back
10 Comets Of Kandahar
11 Each One Lost
12 Parnassus And Fog
13 Ancestors
14 Gifts

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Interview (2011)
Bruce Cockburn - Interview
Lisa Torem speaks to Canadian singer-songwriter and activist Bruce Cockburn about his forty year songwriting career, politics and his just released 31st album, 'Small Source of Comfort'

live reviews

Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, 22/5/2011
Bruce Cockburn - Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, 22/5/2011
In a Sunday evening show at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Lisa Torem watches Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Bruce Cockburn, aided by violinist and arranger Jenny Scheinman, play a phenonemenal set of his political rock

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