Listen to Bruce Cockburn’s New Album ‘Bone on Bone’
Bruce Cockburn is one of Canada’s most beloved songwriters, earning 12 Juno Awards and spots in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame over the course of his storied career, which spans nearly five decades.
It’s been six years since Cockburn released a studio album — 2011’s Small Source of Comfort — but the songwriter announced earlier this year his plans to release a 33rd LP, Bone on Bone. The new collection of songs, produced by Colin Linden, touches on many subjects close to Cockburn’s heart, including the poet Al Purdy, life in Trump’s America, and the complexities of personal spirituality.
Below, Cockburn offers some insight into a handful of Bone on Bone‘s tracks. Listen to the album in its entirety before its September 15 release date below Cockburn’s remarks.
On “40 Years in the Wilderness”
“There have been so many times in my life when an invitation has come from somewhere… the cosmos… the divine… to step out of the familiar into something new. I’ve found it’s best to listen for and follow these promptings. The song is really about that. You can stay with what you know or you can pack your bag and go where you’re called, even if it seems weird, even if you can’t see why or where you’ll end up.”
On “States I’m In”
“It’s literally a ‘dark night of the soul’ kind of song, as it starts with sunset and ends with dawn. It passes through the night. The song is about illusion and self-delusion, looking at the tricks you play on yourself. Maybe it’s also a play on words about me living in the States.”
On “3 Al Purdys”
“I went out and got Purdy’s collected works, which is an incredible book. Then I had this vision of a homeless guy who is obsessed with Purdy’s poetry, and he’s ranting it on the street. The song is written in the voice of that character. The chorus goes, ‘I’ll give you three Al Purdys for a twenty dollar bill.’ Here’s this grey-haired dude, coattails flapping in the wind, being mistaken for the sort of addled ranters you run into on the street—except he’s not really ranting, he’s reciting Al Purdy. The spoken word parts of the track are excerpts from Purdy’s poems. After that, once the ice was broken, the songs just started coming.”