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21 September 1999 -- This month's issue of Words and Music (pictured left), a publication of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), featured Bruce Cockburn talking about the release of his new album, his career and the theme of travel.

"I don't spend a lot of time looking back," Words and Music quoted Cockburn, "but when I do, there is a lot of stuff to look at, so that's surprising. It seems I've had three or four lifetimes already, and it doesn't feel like it's about to end... I don't have any expectations, nor do I presume anything about any of this. I am really grateful for being able to do what I do. As long as I'm able to do it, and in a way that I feel is going somewhere, then I'll keep on doing it. That is the challenge.... To me, it's not about numbers. I'd be doing what I do, or some version of it, even if the numbers weren't there. But it's a lonely thing to be doing something creative and not have an audience... There is room for growth, but that has been very gratifying and exciting in terms of getting the songs out to people who appreciate them."

Bruce also spoke to Words and Music about the benefits that his switch to Rykodisc have brought him in Europe. "Through the '80s, we had a really nice momentum going in Europe, in Germany especially. Through the early '90s, though, Columbia did a great job in the U.S., but absolutely nothing elsewhere in the world, which was very disappointing for me. With Rykodisc, we're gaining more ground in Germany, Italy looks promising again, and I'm now off to the U.K. and Europe for some gigs and promotion stuff."

For those curious about the relationship Cockburn has had with travel and the prevelance of this theme in the latest album, Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu, Cockburn told journalist Kerry Doole that, "I had cut my teeth on beat generation literature, like On The Road, so I had a travel bug early. Travel is still so natural to me. It's habitual, ongoing and I like it! One does get fatigued, but the trick is to maintain or cultivate the ability to be receptive to things. Partly that is what travel does. There's a lot of stuff or human behavior I haven't seen directly. A mountain is a mountain. It is what people have done around it that makes it different from home... There is still a lot of room for discovery in my life, but there's also periodic reminder of things about human nature, like the hopeful side. That comes more readily with travel than through sitting in familiar circumstances. Here it's so easy to get cynical. You start thinking that whether you can get a parking spot or not actually matters."

Access the full text of this 1450-word article here and check out the rest of Words and Music, a publication that has a lot of useful content for all (not just Canadian) singer-songwriters. SOCAN's website can be found at

News Index

This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.