O Sun O Moon

All our songwriting heroes have aged. Bruce Cockburn like the rest. When I heard that he was releasing a new record I was cautious. Could it reach Cockburn standards? 

I took that attitude into a first listening and was thinking that it was not obviously as good as Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaw or Humans but the guitar playing was great, the arrangements were great, the melodies have ear candy within, the lyrics were depth charges and even Bruce’s voice sounded more than ok. On Into The Now there’s even a slight Kristofferson rasp.

So, a second listen and I was asking myself why I was being so defensive. O Sun O Moon is an absolutely fabulous record. At the moment it is up there with those two already mentioned albums as one of my all time Cockburn favourites.

He tells us from the off (On A Roll):


Time takes its toll

But in my soul

I’m on a roll


Boy he is. Next up is some Biblical exegesis for authentic Jesus’ discipleship (Orders):


The one who lets his demons win 

The one we think we’re better than 

A challenge great - as I recall 

Our orders said to love them all 


Preach it brother. Then on Us All he prays for us:


I pray we not fear to love

I pray we be free of judgement and shame

Open the vein, let kindness rain

O’er us all


Don’t forget Bruce has that prophetic side. On To Keep The World We Know he is fighting for planet earth:


Waters rise, grassland dries

Mother Earth, she weeps

Willful ignorance and greed

Prevail while reason sleeps


It is Cockburn doing what he does but the arrangements, the playing. Kristofferson echoes are back on When the Spirit Walks In The Room with its stunning “You’re a thread upon the loom/When the Spirit Walks In The Room”.

Cockburn is certainly gazing for the in coming stage. Nowhere more so than on the spoke word title track:


O sun by day o moon by night

Light my way so I get this right

And if that sun and moon don’t shine

Heaven guide these feet of mine

To Glory


It all closes with When You Arrive:


And the dead shall sing

To the living and the semi-alive

Bells will ring when you arrive


O Sun O Moon is a most mature work of introspective spiritual adventure taking all of Cockburn’s strengths and blending them in the most potent gentleness. It’s a gift. It is beyond expectation. It is up there with his very best! 


David Watts

Really is his best in many years

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