The great singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn is 69 today. I actually know him because he and my wife were once a thing. I think she was with him during at least part of the Stealing Fire tour, which is interesting because I actually saw him on that tour. That was a hugely influential album to me. I still think “Nicaragua” is one of the great songs. At this point, I have seen Cockburn far more than any sane man should have to. He’s an excellent live performer, but I’m not that fond of live performances. Mostly, it is the crowds. When there was a backstage where we could watch, that was much better.
But by far the worst thing about the concerts were the fans. It is such a group of pasty white upper-middle class liberals who I just want to slap. And after the concerts, it was almost impossible to get away. Because Cockburn backs just about every cause in the world, people see him a lot the way that they see Noam Chomsky. So whereas other musicians had to sign autographs and hear about how great they were, Cockburn had to listen to much wringing of hands about this or that. And it would go on for an hour or more.
For his part Cockburn was great. He has the patience of a saint. And in my experience, he was a very nice guy. Although you can tell, he’s kind of lost in his own head. He is certainly a shy guy. At this point, I’m really curious about his position regarding Christianity. He was always at least nominally a Christian. That’s what his song “Wondering Where the Lions Are” is all about. But unfortunately, talking to him would require that I get back in touch with my wife. And that isn’t going to happen.
Here’s two songs of Stealing Fire:
And here’s “Each One Lost” off his newest album, Small Source of Comfort:
Happy birthday Bruce Cockburn!