Bruce Cockburn has always been a restless spirit. Over the course of four decades, the celebrated Canadian artist has traveled to the corners of the earth out of humanitarian concerns—often to trouble spots experiencing events that have led to some of his most memorable songs. Going up against chaos, even if it involves grave risks, can be necessary to get closer to the truth.
“The whole point of writing songs is to share experiences with people,” says Bruce Cockburn, looking back on a career that includes over 25 albums, numerous international awards, including the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Tenco Award for Lifetime Achievement in Italy, 20 gold and platinum records in Canada, and countless concert performances since he released his first solo work in 1970. Cockburn’s collected work is a journey-both moody and revelatory-into the dark night and the sweet laughter of the soul, around the world with vivid imagery and unflinching observations of human cruelty, greed, courage, and survival through faith, and back home to the peaceful forests and vibrant cities of his native Canada.
Never content to rest on his laurels, Cockburn keeps looking ahead. “I’d rather think about what I’m going to do next,” he once said. “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.” Small Source of Comfort, a reflection of Cockburn’s ever-expanding world of wonders, is the latest step in his creative evolution.
As a songwriter, Cockburn is revered by fans and musicians alike. His songs have been covered by such diverse artists as Elbow, Jimmy Buffett, Judy Collins, the Skydiggers, Anne Murray, Third World, Chet Atkins, k.d. lang, Barenaked Ladies, Maria Muldaur and the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. As a guitarist, he is considered among the world’s best. ‘The New York Times’ called Cockburn a “virtuoso on guitar,” while ‘Acoustic Guitar’ magazine placed him in the esteemed company of Andrés Segovia, Bill Frisell and Django Reinhardt. With ‘Slice O Life’, all of Cockburn’s formidable gifts are on full display.