-- Everywhere Dance --
2000. New Hampshire.
co-written with Andy Milne

Found on:

You've Never Seen Everything (2003)

Moon of plenty, moon of mischance
It'll be what you want but you can't stop the dance
Try to count the steps and they change while you stare
And the translucent moon floats in waves of blue air
And we cry out for grace to lay truth bare
The dance is the truth and it's everywhere

Pas de deux in stark silhouette
pulsing against a clear orange sunset
As the distance shifts from skin unto skin
Look at how bodies shape the spaces they're in
See the limbs slide smooth through unresisting air
The dance is the truth and it's everywhere

In grains of sand and Galaxies
In plasma flow and rain in trees
In the sepia swell of silted-up surf
In the ebb and the flow of dying and birth
In wounded streets and whispered prayer
The dance is the truth and it's everywhere

Bruce Cockburn: Acoustic Guitar and Vocals
Gregoire Maret: Harmonica
Andy Milne: Piano

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

  • September 2003 - Commenting on the jazz influence on Everywhere Dance

    AG: What led to your collaboration with pianist Andy Milne for the two songs on the new record [You've Never Seen Everything]?

    Cockburn: My friend [violinist] Hugh Marsh, who is very much in evidence on this record and who played with me a lot through the '80s, called up one day and said, "There's this guy Andy Milne, and he's doing pretty neat stuff and wants to meet you." Soon after that we went to New York and Andy came to the gig and introduced himself, gave me a couple of CDs, and said he was interested in collaborating on some songs. The stuff he gave me was amazing. I'd been having this big, long dry spell, and I thought, "This is a gift, a chance to try something I've never done to a significant degree—collaborate with somebody else as a songwriter—and this is going to break the dry spell." We got together, and I had some lyrics that ended up becoming "Trickle Down," but the first thing we worked on was "Everywhere Dance," which we just started from scratch. Andy had a lyric idea, I just started writing stuff, and it immediately went left from where his idea was going, so there's not really a trace of his lyric idea left in the song. He put music to it, and that was it.

    AG: So the harmonies on that came from piano; they don't sound like something a guitarist would come up with.

    Cockburn: No, but it works great on the guitar. This is the wonderful discovery, because when I first heard it, I thought, "This is a song that I co-wrote that I'm never going to be able to play!" But in fact those harmonies fall naturally on the guitar. It was an interesting experience working with him. He's a very talented guy, and his band [Dapp Theory] is so different from anything I've ever worked with. They don't play anything in 4/4 time—everything is in five or seven or 11.

    "We did do a version of my song "Let the Bad Air Out," which they kindly did in four so I could play it. But it was a great learning curve. His band consisted of the standard rhythm section of piano, bass, and drums, plus a female vocalist; a harmonica player, Grégoire Maret; and a rapper named Kokayi. Kokayi improvised parts to Trickle Down," that don't appear on my record—his presence didn't really work with my approach to the tune. In the original version [for Dapp Theory's CD Y'all Just Don't Know], it's half me singing and half Kokayi rapping. []

    AG: Grégoire Maret's harmonica parts are so light and beautiful on this record. They remind me of Wayne Shorter's playing with Joni Mitchell.

    Cockburn: He is a beautiful player. He's got incredible ears. He just listens and finds the right place to go in with these not necessarily obvious notes. He sort of is to Toots Thielemans what Wayne Shorter is to Ben Webster. He's got that command of the harmonica, but he plays in a much more modern way than bebop style.

    -- from "Traveling Light Bruce Cockburn enlivens his new songs with forays into electronica and modern jazz," Acoustic Guitar, September 2003, by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers.

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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.