The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) announced earlier this year that Bruce Cockburn will be inducted this fall during the first induction ceremony the awards have held in several years. He joins Neil Young, French-Canadian composer Stéphane Venne, and Montreal rock band Beau Dommage.
Trying to write a short profile on a man who’s been in the biz for over four decades is like trying to squish a watermelon into an ant hole. Even his website alone is nearly impossible to summarize: his list of awards and presentations has 59 entries, and that’s just until 2012 and exclusive of civic and cultural honours (another 17, up to 2017).
His first album came out in 1970, and he’s released over 30 albums in the four decades since. Cockburn has been nominated for 32 JUNO Awards (and won 12), and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
This year, Cockburn hosted the JUNO Songwriters’ Circle, where famous artists share the stage with newer ones and tell stories behind the songs they’re about to play. The first session included Lisa Leblanc, Colin Linden, and Wintersleep’s Paul Murphy. Daniel Caesar, Chantal Kreviazuk, and Donovan Woods made up the second session. You can listen to the sessions here.
On his website Cockburn says, “My job is to try and trap the spirit of things in the scratches of pen on paper and the pulling out of notes out of metal.”
His songs cover the range from romance to politics to spiritualism, and he’s used his stature to help organizations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Friends of the Earth. He’s also active in a variety of issues, including First Nations rights, landmines, the environment, and Third World debt. In 2006, he was awarded the first Humanitarian JUNO, and in 2014 the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award.
When Bruce Cockburn plays our mainstage on Tuesday, September 26, just three days after his induction, he’ll be joined by Gary Craig on drums, John Dymond on bass, and John Aaron Cockburn (Cockburn’s nephew) on accordion. All three musicians will also be featured on Cockburn’s fall 2017 new release, Bone On Bone. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to see one of Canada’s most gifted musicians. Buy your tickets now.