Music Review

Bruce Cockburn – “Slice O Life”

Slice O Life is a two-CD set of Bruce Cockburn as solo artist performing material primarily from the 1980s to present, and the set list is the cream of that time period’s crop. Additionally, we get a backstage pass to three Cockburn sound checks, as Bruce warms up prior to the shows.

10 Highlights:

1. Cockburn’s storytelling and sense of humor. I love the tale he recounts of someone yelling at him on a street, “I hate your music!” In typical Cockburn fashion, he said, “It was disturbing but refreshing.”
2. Cockburn’s guitar playing – he is an amazing musician
3. “How I Spent My Fall Vacation” – a great performance of my favorite song from 1980’s Humans
4. The audience singalong to “Wondering Where The Lions Are”
5. One of the great “green” songs of our time: “If A Tree Falls.” Thoreau is smiling and frowning somewhere
6. “Tibetan Side Of Town” – an atmospheric account of a visit to Kathmandu
7. The sublime beauty of “Put It In Your Heart”
8. “Kit Carson” – a more balanced telling of America’s Western “hero”
9. The lazy blues of  “Mama Wants To Barrelhouse” – a blast from 1973’s Night Vision
10. “Tie Me At The Crossroads.” Is there a better song for the end of one’s life?

For further (early) exploration:

Salt, Sun And Time (1974): Worth it alone for “All The Diamonds In The World.” The title track and “Rouler Sa Bosse” – both instrumentals – run the gamut from idyllic impressionism to bawdy barrelhouse.

In The Falling Dark (1976): The title track, “Gavin’s Woodpile” and “Silver Wheels” could only be done by Cockburn.

Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws (1979): The first Cockburn album I ever bought and still my favorite. A remarkable blend of Christian mysticism and faith spun with some of Bruce’s most crystalline melodies and guitar playing.

Bruce Cockburn \

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