Cambridge (Massachusetts), USA – Bruce Cockburn’s 1996 release The Charity of Night showcases the full scope of Cockburn’s artistry as a writer, vocalist, guitarist and arranger.
While powerful songs like “Night Train” combine insistent rhythms with stark poetry and pointed social commentary, more intimate pieces like “Pacing the Cage” reveal the interior architecture of the heart. With stellar support from bassist Rob Wasserman, percussionist Gary Craig and jazz legend Gary Burton on vibraphone, and harmony singers including Jonatha Brooke, Patty Larkin and Ani DiFranco, Cockburn and co-producer Colin Linden create a lush soundscape that immerses the listener in The Charity of Night.
After recording his highly regarded album The Charity of Night, Bruce Cockburn hit the road with his trio (Steve Lucas on bass, Ben Riley on drums, and Cockburn on electric and acoustic guitars). The concert EP, You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance, recorded in May 1997 in Madison, Wisconsin, captures the band in peak form.
From the opening notes of “Call It Democracy” (where Cockburn matches the anger of the lyrics with a blistering guitar solo) to the closing chords of “Birmingham Shadows” (which memorializes the cradle of the Civil Rights movement with spoken word poetry, a beat-jazz groove, and another blazing guitar solo, this time on acoustic), You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance proves Cockburn earns his reputation as one of our most important artists every time he steps onstage.
Breakfast in New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu, originally released in 1999, skillfully details Bruce Cockburn’s (and by extension, everyone’s) quest to find beauty and meaning in a cynical and media-saturated world.
From the opening blues-inflected “When You Give It Away” (with harmony by Lucinda Williams) to the joyous tropical sensuality of “Mango” to the eyes wide open love song “Last Night of the World” to the avant-garde interpretation of “Blueberry Hill” (sung with the Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmons), Breakfast in New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu is a rich, rewarding and continually surprising musical journey.