-- April In Memphis --
-- Composed MLK Day 2019 --

Found on:

Crowing Ignites (2019)


Video by Kurt Swinghammer
From an article by - Watch Moving Animated Video for Bruce Cockburn’s MLK-Inspired "April in Memphis"

April In Memphis: bc guitar, chimes

Editors Note: New York Times review

Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian treasure, writes such thoughtful, pointed songs that it’s easy to overlook what a guitar virtuoso he is until he releases an instrumental album like “Crowing Ignites,” arriving on Friday. He wrote “April in Memphis” on Martin Luther King Day and it’s mostly solo except for the appearance of tolling chimes. The video sometimes displays King’s writings, while the music is a folky, elegiac rumination: fingerpicking, meditating, letting quiet chords resonate, drifting in and out of the blues, letting lone melodies keen in a private memorial.

Jon Pareles has been The Times's chief pop music critic since 1988. A musician, he has played in rock bands, jazz groups and classical ensembles. He majored in music at Yale University. @JonPareles

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • From the Crowing Ignites album bio:

    Cockburn doesn’t set out with any particular agenda when composing an instrumental. “It’s more about coming up with an interesting piece,” he says. “Who knows what triggers it—the mood of the day or a dream from the night before. Often the pieces are the result of sitting practicing or fooling around on the guitar. When I find something I like, I work it into a full piece.”

  • 12 August 2019: “The piece came into being on MLK Day 2019. It pretty much formed itself in the course of a practice session. It took the shape of a lament, more than a celebration, which set me to thinking of King’s murder, and the loss of a voice of wisdom, compassion and respect that we could really use about now. Hence, the title. I think the video conveys the right sense of the poignant beauty, of the dignity, of the man and the spirituality that fueled him.” ~ from

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    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.