Friday, March 04, 2011

mar 25 | bruce cockburn

New album out next Tuesday, and Vancouver's the second date on his spring tour. Touring with Jenny Scheinman - Gillian Welch-ish, Kathleen Nisbet-ish, Lucinda Williams-ish - you can hear her here.

Bruce Cockburn Announces Major North American Tour

Celebrated Canadian recording artist Bruce Cockburn will be supporting the release of his 31st studio album Small Source of Comfort on True North Records with an extensive North American tour that kicks off March 24 in Kelowna, British Columbia and ends June 4 in Seattle, Washington. Cockburn will be accompanied on this tour by violinist Jenny Scheinman and percussionist Gary Craig who are both prominently featured on the new album. At this time, his shows in Chicago, Illinois and Annapolis, Maryland have sold out and a second New York City date has been added by popular demand.

Many of the new compositions come from his travels and spending time in places like San Francisco and Brooklyn to the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

“Each One Lost” and “Comets of Kandahar,” one of five instrumentals on the album, stem from a trip Cockburn made to war-torn Afghanistan in 2009. The elegiac “Each One Lost” was written after Cockburn witnessed a ceremony honouring two young Canadian Forces soldiers who had been killed that day and whose coffins were being flown back to Canada. It was, recalls Cockburn, “one of the saddest and most moving scenes I’ve been privileged to witness.”

“Here come the dead boys, moving slowly past the pipes and prayers and strained commanding voices,” Cockburn sings solemnly on “Each One Lost.” Over a mournful accordion, the simple chorus sums up the gravity of the hymn-like song: “each one lost is a vital part of you and me.”

“Called Me Back” is a comic reflection on the frustrations of waiting for a return phone call that never comes. “Call Me Rose” is from the point of view of Richard Nixon, who receives a chance at redemption after being reincarnated as a single mother living in a housing project with two children.

Brooklyn-based violinist Jenny Scheinman is one of Bruce’s two female collaborators on Small Source of Comfort. Scheinman, best known for her work with Bill Frisell and Norah Jones, provides some thrilling flourishes to instrumentals like “Lois on the Autobahn” and the bluesy, gypsy-like swing of “Comets of Kandahar,” a track that Cockburn describes as “Django meets John Lee Hooker.”

Produced by long-time associate Colin Linden, the album also features Annabelle Chvostek (formerly of the e Wailin Jennys), a Montreal-based singer-songwriter with whom Cockburn wrote two songs on which they also harmonize: the introspective “Driving Away” and the driving, freewheeling “Boundless.”

As always, there’s a spiritual side to Cockburn’s latest collection, best reflected on the closing “Gifts,” a song written in 1968 and but recorded here for the first time, and “The Iris of the World” - “I’m good at catching rainbows, not so good at catching trout.”

“As you go through life, it’s like taking a hike alongside a river. Your eye catches little things that flash in the water, various stones and flotsam. I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to saving these reflections. And, occasionally, a few of them make their way into songs.”

“My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stopped working till they dropped, as I fully expect to be doing, and just getting better as musicians and as human beings.”

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