26 July 2013 - Thank your god for Bruce Cockburn, Canada’s singer/songwriter grounded in grace. He stands in the mid-period pantheon between the past of Mitchell, Cohen, Lightfoot and the present of Plaskett, Hayden and Collett. He pairs elegance with eloquence.
Cockburn has added fire, force and vitality to the Canadian songbook. He is alone in this wide land as all the greats are. He is singular in song and singular in statement.
Cockburn travels and on his journey through life and landscape he sees, hears, documents his thoughts, emotions, reactions into the lightest of touch and the heaviest of subject. He is corporeal, weighty, profound both as a player and as a lyricist. He paces this cage wondering where the other lions are.
Spend a night with his songs, his more than 30 full-length albums and listen carefully -- to a skilled guitarist who draws from blues, jazz, folk, country and from everyone he has ever met from his world tours -- both personally and professionally. Bruce Cockburn is human, oh so human.
Pacing The Cage is a new DVD which combines a solo tour document with insights on his crafts and appearances from fans -- ordinary and celebrated. Jackson Browne, Bono and Michael Ondaatje are among those fans of the man from the nation’s capital.
Mixing Super8 footage and video technology, filmmaker Joel Goldberg has created a work worthy of Bruce Cockburn’s long history as activist and artist. The old meets new may be a tip of the chapeau to the famous album cover for Night Vision, which uses the late Alex Colville’s painting Horse and Train.
The film presents Cockburn as a man still seeking, a man unfinished. He demands perfection from himself but is forgiving of the errors of others. He still kicks at the darkness, still curses those inflicting injustice upon the earth’s indigenous peoples, still spits vitriol in spite of his spirituality. But the music he makes creates a calm in the eye of this storm we are born into.
His guitar is more powerful than any rocket launcher. His songs are as soothing as a dark ride on a night train as shadows of places yet to be explored recede into the distance. Bruce Cockburn’s music is rooted in the poignancy of those moments.
Pacing The Cage is as much a document of where Cockburn has not been as it is a document of where he has. It, as he does, stands unfinished. Pacing The Cage is just another beginning for this man of many beginnings. It is available through True North Records.
~from Oshawa This Week