Monday, May 2, 2011
Veteran Canadian songwriter, humanitarian Bruce Cockburn and his band plus Jenny Scheinman perform at 8PM on Friday, May 13th at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton
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.
Small Source of Comfort, Cockburn’s 31st album, is his latest adventurous collection of songs of romance, protest and spiritual discovery. The album, primarily acoustic yet rhythmically savvy, is rich in Cockburn’s characteristic blend of folk, blues, jazz and rock. As usual, 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, jotting down his typically detailed observations about the human experience.
Brooklyn-based violinist Jenny Scheinman, who opens the Calvin show and also plays in Cockburn’s band, 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.”
His music, along with his humanitarian work, have brought Cockburn a long list of honours, including 13 Juno Awards, an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and several international awards. In 1982, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Officer in 2002.
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.
Tickets for Bruce Cockburn (with band) plus Jenny Scheinman at 8PM on Friday, May 13th at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton are available at Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, 413-586-8686, and online at IHEG.com.