Read an interview with Ron Sexmith, Tim Lawson or just about any other Canadian singer-songwriter and they're bound to name Bruce Cockburn as a seminal influence. Despite this reverence, the Ontario-born troubadour remains a slightly shadowy figure outside his native land, making this compilation of his singles since 1979 all the more welcome. Cockburn began his career as a gentle folk strummer firmly rooted in the Christian tradition; as time went by his songwriting acquired a political edge and became more overtly radical and campaign-driven. This isn't exactly party music and at times it lays itself open to the charge of heavy-handedness. That said, Cockburn's uncompromising lyrics and unadorned studio production have a rare, powerful integrity which give his songs an air of weighty authority. Well worth investigation.
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