If a Folk Artist Wins an Award – Does Anybody Hear?

Bruce Cockburn with his brother John in at a Kandahar Airfield with Cockburn performed for Canadian troops. John is a a doctor at the hospital on the base. Photo credit: Bill Graveland

Canadian singer-songwriter, Bruce Cockburn was recognized with two Canadian Folk Music Awards on Dec. 4 for his album, Small Source of Comfort. The artist won “Contemporary Album of the Year” and “Solo Artist of the Year” – this is Cockburn’s third CFMA.

Cockburn has released 31 albums over the past four decades and has been recognized with 11 Junos and dozens of other awards including a SOCAN in 1988 for the song he may be most well known for – If a Tree Falls. Cockburn often explores human rights and environmental issues in his music. In fact, it was Cockburn’s humanitarian work that prompted promotion to Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003 – he originally received the Order of Canada in 1983.

The artist’s travels brought him to Afghanistan in 2009. The influence of visiting the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar can be heard on two tracks from Small Source of Comfort, Comets of Kandahar and Each One Lost – the latter written after witnessing a ceremony honouring two fallen soldiers being returned to Canada. On his websiteCockburn described the experience “as one of the saddest and most moving scenes I’ve been privileged to witness.” The celebrated folk-hero continues to a give voice for those without.

-Tara Losinski