Today’s image depicts my good friend Dave recording the solo at the end of NOTLD. Don’t forget to check out Dave’s photography blog for better pictures than this one.
I have often referred to the music of bands such as The Tragically Hip as cold arena music. For me, music often creates visual images in my mind, which are associated with specific life experiences. I’m not sure why I experience music this way, but it’s always been like that. I guess it is partly related to movies and television, because they create connections between music and activity. I doubt our ancestors experienced music in the same way.
Why am I talking about this? Well one artist whose music has created a vast array of mental images for me is Mr. Bruce Cockburn. I’ve talked about him on here before and today I am again. Specifically, I want to mention the little snippet of a concert that appeared on the CBC Radio 2 Live Concert podcast back in March. They took a few songs from a set he played out in Vancouver. He kicks off the set with Last Night of the World, a song I dearly love. Only could Bruce Cockburn make the end of the world seem like one last great romantic evening for the ages. I can imagine him pulling out his guitar for a last tune as the cities burn to the ground.
Please bear in mind that I’ve listened to this concert around 15 times, so I’m familiar with each moment. Before this concert I was unaware of Bruce’s great sense of humour. He has some great stories to tell. I’d love to have him on the podcast to just chat about his 40+ years as a musician and social advocate. Who knew someone offered him a chance to be a gun runner? I didn’t. This amazing story (I won’t totally spoil it for you) leads to a song that I had not heard before the podcast. In typical fashion there is so much going on with the guitar that it blows your mind. I believe it was Jackson Browne who said he believed that Bruce Cockburn was the kind of musician who used all sorts of effects to create his complex sounds, and was amazed when he saw him alone with an acoustic guitar playing the same compositions. It is the rare talent who can write beautiful songs that require large amounts of guitar playing talent and retain a strong vocal melody. When you also consider that his lyrics are poetic and prophetic, you can’t help but conisder Bruce Cockburn among the foremost musicians/composers of the last 40 years. See you tomorrow, see you tomorrow, see you tomorrow, see you tomorrow…
Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by, you never get to stop and open your eyes, one day your waiting for the sky to fall, and next your dazzled by the beauty of it all. Yesterday I mentioned my definition of the perfect love song, and this one fits the bill. The guitar is beautiful, the melody is moving, and the lyrics are passionate. Got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight…an inspirational thought indeed.
Take some time right now to log into iTunes, search for CBC Radio 2, subcribe to the Live podcast, scroll down and download this concert. There are two other high quality artists on this particular episode so you can listen to them too, but please at least scroll to the middle to hear Bruce.
Bruce graces us with an acoustic version of End of All Rivers that sounds as if it could feature three guitars. But it’s just him. Amazing is really the only word for it. The song itself does invoke images of rivers in the Canadian wilderness. For me at least. I think because our country is so beautiful, music is easily inspired by it, and easily invokes it. I remember watching Bruce on the Live 8 concert. I think a lot of the crowd was a bit confused by who he was. Such a shame!
Speaking of young people knowing his music, here is a song that predates me. It is also an all time favourite of myself and many other people. Wondering Where the Lions Are is a classic song, Canadian or otherwise. Much like Chris Martin, Bruce invokes the crowds involvement. and I’m thinking bout eternity, some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me. I’ll leave it to the Bruce Cockburn experts to explain this song. For now I’ll just say that if you don’t know this song you better get downloading, shopping, or doing whatever it takes to hear it. Stop missing out on a sonic adventure!
It’s well known that I love Bruce Cockburn’s music. Now it’s your chance to love it to. For free, thanks to the miracle that is the podcast. Go, enjoy, see ya tomorrow.