14 May 2015 - Expect to experience some old favorites when Bruce Cockburn performs Tuesday at the Sellersville Theater and Wednesday at World Café Live.
The veteran Canadian singer-songwriter hasn’t written a new song in three years. During that period, he’d been busy toiling on his memoir, which was released last autumn.
“Rumours of Glory” dropped at an immense 544 pages. “That’s more than 100 pages for each decade I’ve been a musician,” he says. “I’ve been at this for awhile.”
Cockburn, who will turn 70 at the end of the month, focused on his book and his newborn daughter. “She arrived just when I was starting this,” he says. “I don’t have as much energy as I used to have and writing a book is a lot of work.”
Fortunately, Cockburn enlisted a wordsmith — Northern California journalist Greg King — to aid in the project. “I needed a second brain to help organize things,” Cockburn says. “That was a huge help and it helped me focus on the content.”
He had been approached often over the last few years to write a memoir. “But it didn’t seem like there was enough of an arc to write that book,” he says. “But when Harper Collins approached me about this a few years ago, I experienced enough to sit down and write it. They said they wanted a ‘spiritual memoir.’ That sounded good.”
Cockburn tells colorful stories about coming of age in the music business. “Nobody I mentioned in the book has said anything negatively,” he says. “I’ve heard from some people who say that they recall things differently, but overall, it’s been really good in terms of feedback.”
The bard’s early years have the most impact.
He chronicles how he felt when his father destroyed a notebook of his poems when he was 14. “There was probably a lot of derivative drivel in there, but the material was also personal and precious,” Cockburn says. “What he did was intolerable, but it might have spurred me on as a songwriter.”
Speaking of songs, a companion box set, which is comprised of 117 songs and nine discs, was released by Cockburn’s True North Records last October.
“That’s some serious product between the box set and the book,” he says. “I’ve been busy.”
Cockburn doesn’t have fresh material. His last album was released in 2011 [Small Source Of Comfort], but he doesn’t want for songs. He has released 25 albums during his 45-year career as a recording artist.
“I have more than enough to put on a show when I come in,” he says. “I have so much to choose from. I’m thrilled to have completed the book and I can focus on songwriting. I probably have enough for 500 more pages of memoir, but I think I’ll stick with being a musician. It’s a lot easier for me to write songs than a book, but it was a great project.”
Cockburn is very popular in Canada, but he’s a cult hero in the States. His clever folk-rock has its audience, but he’s not a household name like he is in the Great White North.
“That’s fine — that’s something I can’t control,” he says. “I just go about my business and I’m thrilled to be doing what I’m doing.”
Cockburn is enjoying his second act as a parent and citizen. He has moved with his wife and daughter to San Francisco.
“It’s great here,” he says. “I miss the grittiness of New York, but I can’t imagine raising a child there. She is going to love being brought up San Francisco.”
Bruce Cockburn appears Tuesday at the Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville. Show time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $35 and $50. Information: 215-257-5808. [Tour Dates]
Cockburn appears Wednesday at World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Show time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $34.50. Information: 215-222-1400. [Tour Dates]
~ from Bucks County Courier Times - Bruce Cockburn can pick and choose from a vast portfolio - By Ed Condran Correspondent.