1 August 2013 - Bruce Cockburn, the legendary Canadian singer/songwriter is busy writing his first book, with the deadline for the first draft of his long-awaited spiritual memoir due near the end of last month. Cockburn was approached by a publisher a few years ago to tell the tale of his life’s work and since spirituality is a part of his everyday life, it was a natural fit.
Being a first-time author aside, Cockburn is presently on tour in support of his latest DVD documentary release “Bruce Cockburn: Pacing the Cage,” with a live performance at the Esplanade Aug. 8 with his band.
“The record business, you know back in the day, when we first starting making records we would make an album and it would come out a month later,” said Cockburn, adding there is no release date for his forthcoming book hopefully soon to be hot off the press. Quite honestly, Cockburn noted he doesn’t know how it works, as he hasn’t published a book before, so it’s all new to the seasoned veteran performer.
“Nowadays, you make a record and it takes six months to a year before they get around to putting it out the major labels,” added Cockburn. “I would expect the publishing industry to be somewhat similar.”
With writing poetry everything’s compressed, according to Cockburn, but with a book containing decades of personal reflections and anecdotes he said one must go in the opposite direction. “It’s very filled in and it’s got a lot of detail.”
Song-wise, for more than 35 years and just about as many albums, Cockburn has been no stranger to a string of hits including Lovers in a Dangerous Time, If I Had a Rocket Launcher, If a Tree Falls and Wondering Where the Lions Are. Cockburn has been involved in numerous charitable, activist and humanitarian efforts, is a winner of 13 Juno Awards, has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Recently, Cockburn donated personal archives including notebooks, musical arrangements, gold records, letters, scrapbooks, nearly 1,000 recordings and three guitars to McMaster University, where he was the recipient of an honourary doctorate in 2009.
In 2009, Cockburn also released a live solo album entitled Slice of Life the footage from the recently released documentary is from the same tour of the live album. “Of course the film has a lot more in it than the music. There are complete performances of some songs but there’s also a lot of talking. I’m quite happy with it. I think it’s an accurate portrait of a part of me that I wanted to show,” said Cockburn.
“I’m 68. I guess it’s time for a retrospect. I’ve been approached many times over the years by people that wanted to do a book on me but it always seemed like it was premature for one thing. In your forties and even in your fifties, it’s too soon for something like that,” said Cockburn.