Small Source of Comfort

[True North]

One might think that by album No. 24, even a singer-songwriter with Bruce Cockburn’s undeniable gifts might have nothing new to say. And there have been times in recent years when it would have been fair to wonder just that: 2005’s all-instrumental Speechless was hardly what Cockburn does best, and 2009’s live solo Slice O Life was, well, just another live album. Small Source of Comfort, though, returns Cockburn to form. These are songs that invite repeated visits and reveal multiple layers with each new listening. In “Driving Away,” a moody ballad that finds him practically crooning, Cockburn ruminates on those things that come and go, “blue as the night.” The five instrumentals often seem little more than filler (despite the presence of the excellent Jenny Scheinman on violin), but the vocal songs on Small Source of Comfort are consistently clever and poignant. –JT

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