I love music, I mean let’s face it, who doesn’t? We all have songs or artists whose music just stays with us. It could be years since we’ve heard one of their songs, but as soon as we do it brings us back to a certain memory, and we’re right there singing along remembering all the words.
I’ve a few artists who’ve made it through my ever tasting changes in music: Peter Gabriel, R.E.M., Spirit of the West, but most of all Bruce Cockburn.
I got into Bruce Cockburn (pronounced Ko-burn) back in the early 1990s when I received his “Nothing But a Burning Light” album, on cassette, from my sister for my birthday. From the first listen I was hooked on his music, for the next year all I wanted as gifts were any and all past albums of his. I know my siblings thought that I had gone mental, but I just couldn’t stop listening to his music. I loved that no two albums sounded the same, he was always experimenting with sound, his guitar playing, and themes, yet there was always a familiarity hidden underneath the layers.
In 1994, I was given his Dart to the Heart album, now as a CD, for my birthday from my sister or my oldest brother, I can’t remember. To this day it is still my favorite album of his. The songs are all about love, loss, or a combination of the two. It’s the most unconventional romantic album I’ve ever heard. And for a present they took me, a few months later, to go see him at the then Horizontal Boogie Bar, now the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester.
If I loved listening to his albums I loved seeing him live even more. He doesn’t talk much with the audience, but when he does he makes you feel like you’re the only person he’s talking to, he has a knack for creating, in a sea of people, a sense of intimacy. When he performs there is a hush that comes over the crowd, and while you know people are singing along, you can’t hear them.
Last night he was in Buffalo, and I went to see him. Like when I went to see James at the 9:30 Club last year, I went by myself, which I didn’t mind because once the music starts, it’s not like I’ll be talking to anyone. Right before he started the last song of the evening, he said that he’d be sticking around after the show to meet fans and sign autographs for those interested. What? Did I hear him right? My most favorite musician is going to do a meet and greet? And after almost 17 years of listening to, and loving his music I’m going to get the chance to meet him?! Egads, I hope I don’t make an ass out of myself.
I don’t think I did; he was gracious while I babbled on about how he wrote me a postcard when I was in college in response to a question I asked about one of his songs. He signed my concert ticket, not for me but for someone important to me who couldn’t be there, and I was then able to get my photo taken with him. I’ve always imagined what it’d be like to meet him, and now I know; I just wish I could have asked him for coffee to talk more, but I’m so grateful for the few minutes I had.