Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Bruce Cockburn – whose sole skirmish with chart success was Wondering Where The Lions Are in 1980 – is the Richard Thompson of Canada. And if you don't get the reference that's the point.
Both are respected and influential folk-rock
songwriters/guitarists, but their gifts go largely unacknowledged
beyond admiring musicians, the critical community and a loyal fan
base. Cockburn is profiled here.
So another year, another Cockburn album?
Call Me Rose imagines Richard Nixon back in the body of a young girl and asks what it would take to rehabilitate his soul; the acoustic ballad Driving Away (a duet with guitarist/cowriter Annabelle Chvostek) is an almost holy moment despite opening with the line “the dichotomy of being a sentient being” but unfortunately comes to a faltering close; and Each One Lost is a moving acknowledgement of the body bags from war zones and how we are lessened by each one.
But Boundless also
with Chvostek is wordy and tuneless, albeit beautifully
crafted on a musical level.
Between the songs are lovely acoustic
and sometimes jazzy instrumentals (notably The Comets of Kandahar)
and Called Me Back (“my so-called buddy never called me back
. . . he could be going through a bitter divorce or quadruple
bypass”) could have come from the wryly observational pen of Loudon
Overall, this is a 25th studio album has breath-catching moments. Then there is the rest.
Like the sound of this? Then try this.