By Keith Sharp
Bruce Cockburn’s upcoming 28-date tour of North West, Eastern United States and Ontario is cheekily titled “Bruce Cockburn 50th Anniversary Concert Tour – Second Attempt! In reference to the one-year delay of his planned list of festivities due to everything being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yeah and it could be re-titled Third Attempt if things don’t improve significantly,” joked Cockburn over the phone from his San Francisco residence where he is preparing to promote his new 30-song ‘ Cockburn’s Greatest Hits’, two-disc release, opening in Grass Valley CA December 7th and touring 11 dates in the North East, before switching to the Eastern seaboard and Ontario at the end of February with a key Massey Hall Toronto date April 22nd, 2022. He has also just been announced as an inductee in Canada’s Walk Of Fame for 2021.
“We had a year’s worth of work lined up to celebrate my 50th anniversary, we released a five-vinyl box set (featuring his debut album – 1970 plus two never-before on vinyl releases, ‘The Charity Of Night-1997 -and `Breakfast In New Orleans Dinner In Timbuktu – 1999 – both double album releases), plus a full slate of tours but then we had to wait for the pandemic to die down.”
Now as venues start to open and fans begin to return to live venues, Cockburn is set to return to the spotlight to promote his first-ever Greatest Hits package, an all-encompassing song list that kicks off with his very first double single; “Going To The Country”/”Musical Friends” and features all of his key songs through the 70’s/80’s/90’s/200’s and 2010 including such staples as “Wandering Where The Lions Are”, “If I Had A Rocket Launcher”, “Tokyo”, “Lovers In A Dangerous Time” and “Waiting For A Miracle” to name just a few album highlights.
“In 1969, when I was feeling the need to record an album of the songs I had been writing, I had no concept of what that might lead to. Not unusual for a young person I guess. In some organic way, it felt like it was time,” Cockburn said of that debut album. “The future wasn’t really an issue, it still isn’t. For each of us, there’s a future or there isn’t. But looking back over the arc of 50 years of recording, performing and travel, not to mention relationships and personal challenges, I can only shake my head and mutter a word of thanks for all of it. Even if I’d been a planner by nature. I doubt if I could have predicted how things have gone. And they are still going.”
Ottawa native Cockburn found his way to Toronto in 1967 and performed in a series of bands including Flying Circus, Olivius and 3’s A Crowd while also pursuing a solo career, performing at the 1967 Mariposa Folk Festival and headlining that event in 1969.
Joining forces with Toronto music entrepreneur Bernie Finklestein, Cockburn’s debut record was the first release on Finklestein’s True North Records in 1970. He would go on to release a total of 34 studio albums, in the process winning 13 Juno Awards and receiving numerous awards including The Order Of Canada in 1982 and induction into Canada’s Music Hall Of Fame in 2001.
Cockburn had to wait until 1980 to crack the U.S charts when his `Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws’ release featured “Wondering Where The Lion’s Are” which reached No 21 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 earning a coveted musical guest spot on Saturday Night Live. His anti-war If I Had A Rocket Launcher also created a stir in the U.S and during a trip to Afghanistan to visit his brother John, who was serving there, Cockburn performed a concert for the troops and was actually awarded his own rocket launcher!
Musical trends may have come and gone but Cockburn has remained consistent, releasing new products every two years or so and is eager to continue his creative sojourn. His songs have been covered by the likes of Jimmy Buffet, The Barenaked Ladies, KD Lang, Judy Collins, Chet Atkins, Anne Murray, Marty Balin plus many others.
“They say age is just a number until body parts start falling off,” he laughed. “As for my legacy, I like the idea that my songs will still be around when I’m gone. That people will still find something in them – but I’m not going to be around to care about it.”
For tour information, please link to brucecockburn.com
A full list of tracks from Bruce Cockburn’s Greatest Hits is listed below.
- Going To The Country (3:16) originally released on Bruce Cockburn, 1970
- Musical Friends (2:57) originally released onBruce Cockburn, 1970
- One Day I Walk (3:08) originally released onHigh Winds White Sky, 1971
- Mama Just Wants To Barrelhouse All Night Long (6:26) originally released on Waiting For a Miracle, 1987*
- All The Diamonds in the World (2:41) originally released on Sand, Salt and Time, 1974
- Silver Wheels (4:42) originally released on In The Falling Dark, 1976
- Wondering Where The Lions Are (3:44) originally released on Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws, 1979
- Tokyo (3:29) originally released on Humans, 1980
- Rumours of Glory (5:03) originally released on Humans, 1980
- The Coldest Night Of The Year (4:26) originally released on Mummy Dust, 1981
- Wanna Go Walking (2:54) originally released on Inner City Front, 1981
- The Trouble With Normal (3:37) originally released on The Trouble With Normal, 1983
- Lovers In A Dangerous Time (4:06) originally released on Stealing Fire, 1984
- If I Had A Rocket Launcher (4:59) originally released on Stealing Fire, 1984
- Call It Democracy (3:52) originally released on World of Wonders, 1986
- People See Through You (3:46) originally released on World of Wonders, 1986
- Waiting For A Miracle (4:50) originally released on Waiting For A Miracle, 1987
- Stolen Land (5:22) originally released on Waiting For A Miracle, 1987
- If A Tree Falls (5:42) originally released on Big Circumstance, 1988
- A Dream Like Mine (4:55) originally released on Nothing But A Burning Light, 1991
- Listen For A Laugh (4:06) originally released on Dart To The Heart, 1994
- Night Train (6:14) originally released on The Charity of Night, 1997
- Pacing The Cage (4:38) originally released on The Charity of Night, 1997
- Last Night Of The World (4:52) originally released on Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu, 1999
- Anything Anytime Anywhere (3:35) originally released on Anything Anytime Anywhere, 2002
- Open (4:03) originally released on You’ve Never Seen Everything, 2003
- Put it In Your Heart (5:23) originally released on You’ve Never Seen Everything, 2003
- Different When It Comes To You (2:57) originally released on Life Short Call Now, 2006
- Call Me Rose (3:16) originally released on Small Source of Comfort, 2011
- States I’m In (5:41) originally released on Bone on Bone, 2017
*Mama Just Wants To Barrelhouse All Night Long (6:26) was originally released in 1973 on Night Vision but this version is from Waiting for A Miracle, 1987.