IT’S NICE TO KNOW that there’s enough interest that I can say no to some things,” Bruce Cockburn tells me from the road, somewhere along the West Coast near San Francisco ahead of a North American tour and new album – Bone on Bone. Ever the wandering troubadour, the 72-year-old values a balance between touring, tributes and tots – specifically his five-year-old daughter, Iona.
“When you’re 30, if you miss a couple of moments in the child’s development, big deal, because you’re going to see lots of others,” he says. “At this point in my life, I don’t want to miss anything because I won’t get a second chance.”
It’s an interesting dichotomy – dad to a young daughter at home and musical elder professionally. He notes the gratification that comes from his Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction this month, anticipating a fun night and a stark contrast from his 2001 Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction. “It felt pretty strange. Aren’t you supposed to be dead for that? Now I don’t feel like I have to be dead.”
Cockburn, instead, looks to role models like blues man Mississippi John Hurt, who enjoyed musical relevance into his later years. As it stands, Cockburn’s own story, as told in his 2014 memoir Rumours of Glory, ends at age 59. When asked, however, about a sequel to document life post-60 and the music, awards, honours and experiences that followed, Cockburn seems more content to keep living it than write about it.
“There’s no plan but it could happen, especially if I become debilitated or if the song-writing thing runs dry,” he says. “There’ll be a story to tell, but whether I’ll get bored enough or live long enough to tell it …” —Mike Crisolago For the full Bruce Cockburn interview, visit everything zoomer.com/tag/zoom-in-extras. And visit brucecockburn.com for tour dates and information.