Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Small Source Of Comfort’ Released Today

March 8, 2011

After a five year studio recording hiatus, Canadian recording artist Bruce Cockburn comes up with a very intriguing recording. The lead off song “The Iris Of The World” is an excellent start. I like the light shuffling beat and cymbals crashing in the background. There is quite alot of interesting percussion sounds on this recording. The catchy and unusual song named “Call Me Rose” finds Bruce musing about Richard Nixon returning as a poor mother in todays world. I really can’t say I have heard anything like this one before, ever.

The first of five instrumentals “Bohemian Three Step” starts with a gong and more of the percussion found throughout. Excellent guitar playing we have come to expect from Bruce is here. The gorgeous “Radiance” has a haunting violin from Jenny  Scheinman which is a wonderful delight heard on many of the songs. “Five Fifty One” is a early morning song with a heavier beat, and one of my favorites. Another of the best here is “Driving Away”, with a gypsy feel that is found throughout the latest from Bruce. Slow does not mean boring on this one. The second instrumental called “Lois On The Autobahn”, has Jenny sounding good with Bruce delivering stellar guitar playing. The percussive “Boundless” has a quality beat driving it. “Called Me Back” has a nice cymbal sound and literally ends with a bang — a giant gong in this case. The third instrumental “Comets Of Kandahar” has Jenny playing a lilting and quite impressive violin. Bruce has a different guitar sound here and sounding fresh like a hiatus revitalized him. 

The low point of the recording is the overly political yawner “Each One Lost”. Not a horrible song, but not really memorable. “Parnassus and Fog” the fourth instrumental is a slow rolling song with more haunting violin from Jenny. “Ancestors”, the fifth instrumental, with more bells at the intro, and throughout, is reminiscent of “Speechless” with delay on the guitar. What great guitar it is, and my favorite instrumental of the five.

If “Gifts” sounds like vintage Cockburn, that’s most likely because it is. A song written in 1968, this is a song a long time fan will appreciate quite extensively, as with all of “Small Source Of Comfort”, which is actually quite alot of comfort for huge Cockburn fans. After much thought about the rating, I have decided on 4 and 3/4 stars. Better than four and 1/2 and not quite 5. Produced by Colin Linden, as on several of his more recent recordings. Available for listening at in its entirety.

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