Running Heads

From the editors of Cascade Books and Pickwick Publications at Wipf and Stock Publishers

Bruce Cockburn in the UK

I went to Greenbelt (a Christian Arts festival) for a day a couple of weeks ago to see a musical hero of mine, Bruce Cockburn. You see we Brits are starved of Cockburn—he was last here in 1987—so I could not miss the chance to see him.

Wonderful! Although Cockburn no longer thinks of himself as a Christian (which I do find sad) he is clearly a spiritual man and this comes over in his songs. Despite the fact that there was rain to rival Noah’s flood outside the big top we were in (with the consequence that we were standing in mud), it was simply an uplifting occasion. He may be 67 but he can still perform! Loved it.

For a superb book of Christian theological reflections on Cockburn’s lyrics check out Kicking at the Darkness by Brian Walsh. Highly recommended.


  1. Thanks, Robin. For twenty years, the music of Cockburn has been a place where the musical tastes of my wife and myself AND our children have coincided. (When the kids were teenagers, the four of us even went to a Cockburn concert together!) We heard him most recently at Calvin College’s two-yearly Festival of Faith and Writing this spring, where Brian Walsh got to interview him before the concert. It was a very good interview, though there too Cockburn made it clear he didn’t really identify as a Christian any more. Brian also did an excellent lecture on methodological considerations when “interpreting” an artist like Cockburn.

  2. John

    Wow! That sounds great. Wish I was there.

    I’d love to know what he thought of Brian’s book. There is a mention in the intro or the preface that he had read it and acknowledged it as a legit was of “making sense” of his work (which, of course, need not mean that it the way that he himself tries to make sense of it).


  3. Apparently he told Brian, “I felt understood.” That’s pretty affirming. Brian and his wife Sylvia Keesmat (Colossians Remixed) took Bruce for supper after the interview, but (rightly) wouldn’t talk about the conversation except to say “He’s just a regular guy”–although he has just become a father again! Most “regular” 67 year olds can’t claim that.

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