Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 27 May '45, Ottawa) Singer- songwriter. Folksy eponymous debut LP '70 on Epic, then his low-key albums gradually edging to electric rock, lyrics evolved from fashionably mystical and ecological through religious (born-again Christian '74) to political. Worked through Europe as busker, studied at Boston's Berklee; first five LPs won Junos (Canadian equivalent of Grammy) but made little impact elsewhere. Ninth album Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws '79 on Millennium infl. by African pop, reggae, jazz; first to chart in USA (no. 45), incl. first USA single hit 'Wondering Where The Lions Are'. Humans '80, Bruce Cockburn/Resum‚ '81 (compilation) charted in USA; meanwhile moved to city from rural retreat, recruited band (lineup in '85: Chi Sharp, percussion; Miche Pouliot, drums; Fergus Marsh, bass), prod. more aggressive, urban style: Inner City Front '82, Trouble With Normal '83; Stealing Fire '84 strongly infl. by tour of refugee camps in Central America, incl. sentiments overtly anti-USA foreign policy (e.g. 'If I Had A Rocket Launcher'). Music akin to Dire Straits' lean yet muscular rock nevertheless found favour south of the border: reached top 50 LPs, incl. two singles in Hot 100, followed by World Of Wonders '85 on Canadian True North label, then MCA, Revolver in UK; then Big Circumstance '89 on Gold Castle barely made top 200 USA. The Charity Of Night '96 on Rykodisc was said to be his 23rd album, his easy graceful style unaltered.