Huge Orange Flying Boat

As the echoes of our passing fade all there is to say.

Bruce Cockburn

Time Me At The Crossroads

Welcome to Part III of my multi-part review of Bruce Cockburn’s Slice O Life.  You can read Part I and Part II by clicking. I also apologize for the lack of a podcast. I am having some issues elated to my account (no fault of libsyn) and can’t post anything right now. I will be back with them in the very new feature. I appreciate your patience.

This final section begins with a brief story about the pan handlers of Bruce’s current hometown, Kingston.

We’ve reached a portion of the set that contains three classics, beginning with the timeless Wondering Where The Lions Are. Since this is a solo show Bruce enlists his audience to echo the refrain.  I’ve said a lot about this song in a past post and my opinion remains unchanged.  It’s a song that I never grow tired of hearing.

If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear. If you are familiar with this song, then you know it is often more spoken than sung.  The history of the environental movement is a bit of a mystery to me, but I have to think that this song represnts what was once great fervor about saving the rainforests.  When’s the last time you saw a commercial abotu saving the rainforests?  It’s been awhile for me.

Celestial Horses contains one of the few problems on this CD. There is a noticeable buzz in the song, which is a bit distracting, but isn’t a huge issue.  The song itself is quite beautiful in this venue.  It actually reminds me of a few Paul Simon songs, like Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War.  Yet it is unmistakeably Bruce Cockburn.

Most artists who play music similar to Bruce would never get as angry as If I Had A Rocket Launcher.  Of course, it does happen from time to time, and when we remember that Bruce came up in the rabble rousing milieu that was the 1960’s.  In this format the song has the feel of a solitary voice yelling at the wall of meaningless violence.

Child of the Wind is a straight ahead folk song.  There is beauty in simplicity.  I could hear Joel Plaskett playing this song.  Bruce has been widely covered, perhaps most famously by The Barenaked Ladies, which is a testament to his influence and skillful songwriting.

The concert portion of the album wraps up with Tie Me At The Crossroads. It’s been a great ride.

The album has a bonus section of soundcheck material.  It’s interesting to listen to and to get a slice of backstage chatter. The three tracks each have something a little different to offer.  I actually sumbled across a fascinating debate about the legacy of Kit Carson after listening to the song again.

Overall I greatly enjoyed Slice O Life. Bruce Cockburn is such a talented musician that even when he is alone for two hours he can create a transcendent experience.  His voice has changed a bit over the years, which is not a bad thing, and his guitar playing remains exemplary.  Although this concert is a collection of songs spanning is career I think it’s worth commenting on the content of his compositions.The quality of his lyric writing is perhaps unsurpassed in Canadian music.  He merges spiritual, political, emotional, social, and natural themes and creates compositions that paint pictures and tell stories.  If you aren’t a Bruce Cockburn fan this album might convince you to change your mind. Particularly if you appreciate strong acoustic guitar playing and entertaining songs.  This is obviously a must for all Bruce Cockburn fans. Bruce Cockburn has a reputation for outstanding solo concerts, and this album does not disappoint.

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