Music Reviews

Bruce Cockburn

Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu

Rykodisc / True North

A sweet spoken word on dry on riff quietly turns into what could be described as if Eric Clapton did Paul Simon’s Graceland , one of the uptempo numbers. Track does the same but with delicate fingerpicked acoustics and lilting melody, and throws in a kora for good measure.

Superb blends of traditional western guitar/bass/drums arrangement with gliding African rhythms and traditional instruments.

But Bruce keeps it personal and close, always giving the song and story more weight than production, never overdriving. The songs are thoughtful and mature, timeless in their presentation.

If like me, this is your first Bruce Cockburn experience, you will also find he makes it seem like he’s been your friend a long time. And no wonder, Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu is Bruce’s 25th album. And aptly titled – there are definitely some cool bayou bash songs here. Some feature guest vocals by Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) and Lucinda Williams. A soul country rendition of “Blueberry Hill” here. An instrumental east/west acoustic meditation there. The west/east mix varies between tracks, but it’s always natural and comfortable. A very suave collection worth trekking into.

Rykodisc, Shetland Park, 27 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970;

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