Bruce Cockburn in town

A Bruce Cockburn appearance in Cranbrook is an event. Almost 600 people agreed with that sentiment, packing the Key City Theatre to take in the legendary singer-songwriter and pioneering guitarist and his band on Thursday, August 8.

Cockburn is a gentle, amiable presence, but he had a lot to say on the state of the world and the human soul, and he said it through the powerful poetry of his setlist — spanning the decades of his vast songbook. Songs from 40 years seemed as relevant as the selections from his most recent album Bone on Bone.

READ: How Bruce Cockburn recharged his songwriting

For the most part, he eschewed the crowd pleasing hits that got him so much radio play in past years, though Lovers In A Dangerous Time and Tokyo did open the show, and Peggy’s Kitchen Wall and Wondering Where The Lions Are appeared later in the set. But Cockburn and the band concentrated instead on themes of movement and flight (Silver Wheels, Night Train, Mon Chemin); injustice, values and values gone wrong (Call it Democracy, Stolen Land, Cafe Society), and the search for redemption (Jesus Train, Soul Of A Man).

When You Give It Away and Berlin Tonight comprised “the travelogue portion of the evening,” Cockburn joked, and Three Al Purdys — Cockburn’s tribute to the late Canadian poet — featured a strong spoken word element.

Cockburn’s fiery musicianship was enhanced by the bass playing of John Dymand, the jazzy drumming of Gary Craig, and the multi-instrumentalism of Cockburn’s nephew John Aaron Cockburn on violin, accordion and guitar. The band used electronics to great effect on several songs, giving a shimmering, ethereal sheen to the overall sound.

After an intermission, Cockburn and the band showcased a number (The Bells of Gethsemane) from the upcoming instrumental album Crowing Ignites — heavy on chimes, cymbals, Tibetan singing bowls and percussion underneath Cockburn’s melodic guitar.

The short encore was Soul Of A Man (“Won’t somebody tell me/Answer if you can … / …Tell me what is the soul of a man?), leaving the audience with their heads full of philosophy, poetry and intense music.

Afterwards, Cockburn graciously repaired to the Key City Theatre lobby where an autograph line had formed. A fitting end for his visit to a city full of old friends.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

New comet appears in pre-dawn sky above Cranbrook

Neowise can be seen without a telescope over the next couple of weeks

When it’s too dangerous to sing

It’s easier to imagine a world without birdsong than a world without choirs

District of Sparwood accepting submissions for Street Art Banner Program

The program aims to encourage, promote and celebrate local heritage, arts and culture

Birthday wishes come true as Kimberley girl reunited with her cat

Cat was missing for a month, reunited with owners because SPCA was able to trace microchip

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Most Read