-- Small Source of Comfort - (2011) --

Track Listing:
Click song titles to see lyrics, other albums the song appears on, and known comments by Bruce Cockburn on the song. Track lengths are not guaranteed as they occasionally change with format (i.e. CD/vinyl) and release version.

  Disc One

[1] The Iris of the World (3:23)
[2] Call Me Rose (3:18)
[3] Bohemian 3-Step (4:08)
[4] Radiance (4:15)
[5] Five Fifty-One (3:35)
[6] Driving Away (4:36)
[7] Lois on the Autobahn (4:46)
[8] Boundless (4:46)
[9] Called Me Back (2:42)
[10] Comets Of Kandahar (4:50)
[11] Each One Lost (4:00)
[12] Parnassus and Fog (3:30)
[13] Ancestors (4:00)
[14] Gifts (1:58)

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Album Info:

Liner Notes (front) written by Bruce Cockburn:

"When the last studio album, Life Short Call Now, was released, I felt that it was time for something different. I had a vision of music, electric and noisy, with songs and jackhammers and fiercely distorted guitars. To pursue music like that, you need isolation. In the initial stages at least, there's likely to be more noise than music. It's important not to incite your neighbors to violent acts.

"As things turned out, these last few years have been spent hanging out in urban settings mostly; in apartments where sound travels, with only brief periods of solitude, mostly found doing long distance drives. As a result, what's come out is a collection of folkier, acoustic guitar songs and pieces. Just goes to show, you just never know..."

Final page - written by Bruce Cockburn:

Final page - "Thanks to the following, who helped shape the contents herein, whether they knew it or not... Aldo & Amy, Joe Boyd, Marc Bregman, Arjun Chainpure, Annabelle Chvostek, Guy Clarkson, John Cockburn, the late Lois Cockburn, sundry Corporate Scumbags (the same ones who shape everything else in the world), Louise DesRoches, En Soph, MJ Hannet, Ang Lee, Gavin Lee, Linda Manzer, Gen. Walt Natynczyk, the late Richard Nixon, Ledy Nevas, the NYPD, Lisa Sullivan, the US Dept. of Homeland Security, Julie Wolf"

Song Notes - written by Bruce Cockburn:

The Iris Of The World (Camden East 11/01/09) - "I did a lot of driving between Kingston, Ontario and Brooklyn, NY. Not to mention many other places. Me and peak oil and love."

Call Me Rose (Montreal 19/01/05) - "Woke up one morning with these words pretty much fully formed in my head. Why? Indeed? Something to do with power and responsibility. What would it take to REALLY rehabilitate, not just the image (as the Bush folks tried to do), but the soul of Richard Nixon?"

Bohemian 3-Step - "Jenny Scheinman and I were approached about putting together a demo with respect to creating a score for a major Hollywood film. In the end, the director didn't like our ideas, but we had a lot of fun working on it. This piece was composed by me, but was heavily influenced by the stuff Jenny was coming up with."

Radiance (Camden East 12/07/09) - "I read an interview with Jungian psychologist Marion Woodman in which she made a reference to the Divine Feminine representing the radiance which pervades the cosmos. I liked the image. Then, driving down the road at sunset, I saw the first verse unfold."

Five Fifty-One (Brooklyn 3/08) - "Brooklyn..."

Driving Away (Montreal, winter 2007)- "One day Annabelle Chvostek called me wondering if I'd be interested in writing a song with her. I haven't done much co-writing over the years. I thought why not? I knew Annabelle was good and it seemed timely to try it. She had a lot of the lyrics and the music for the verses already. Later on we wrote another one..."

Lois On The Autobahn - "To the afterlife, that is... The music was inspired by a piece of Jenny's. Lois is my late mother."

Boundless (Montreal 04/02/09) - "This is the other song Annabelle and I wrote together. This time I had much of the verbiage in bits and pieces. The road...goes from here to eternity..."

Called Me Back (Camden East 27/01/09) - "Everybody's too damn busy these days..."

The Comets Of Kandahar - "Among many exciting things encountered during a short trip to Afghanistan was the sight of jet fighters taking off after dark. The planes themselves invisible, there was only the roar and the glowing purple cone of tailpipe flame shooting across the sky. People would stop and watch. A Canadian soldier who stood next to me said, 'the comets of Kandahar.'"

Each One Lost (Camden East 13/09/09) - "On the way into Kandahar Airfield from Ottawa, our little group spend a few hours at Camp Mirage, a Canadian staging base in the Middle East. As we were about to board our next plane, we found ourselves part of a Ramp Ceremony, honouring the remains of two young Canadian Forces members who had been killed that day and were being sent home. One of the saddest and most moving scenes I've ever been privileged to witness...this song is dedicated to the memory of Major Yannick Pépin and Corporal Jean-Francois Drouin."

Parnassus And Fog - "San Francisco magic and mystery"

Ancestors - "Live, I've been playing the singing bowl part myself. In the studio, Gary Craig was there to do that. More bowls, more good..."

Gifts (Toronto, 15/03/68) - "Way back when, I used to close my shows with this song. Never seemed right to record it until now."


Iris Of The World
BC - Vocal, Guitar, Sansula
Jenny Scheinman - Violin, Harmonies
John Dymond - Acoustic Bass
Gary Craig - Drums, Percussion

Call Me Rose
BC - Vocal, 12 String Guitar
Jenny Scheinman - Violin
Colin Linden - Mandolins, Hammertones
Celia Shacklett - Harmonies
John Dymond - Bass
Gary Craig - Drums, Percussion

Bohemian Three-Step
BC - Guitar
Gary Craig - Drums

BC - Vocal, Guitar
Gary Craig - Drums
Jenny Scheinman - Violin
Tim Lauer - Accordian

Five Fifty-One
BC - Vocal, 12 String Guitar, Harmonica
Gary Craig - Drums
Colin Linden - Slide Electric Baritone Guitars, Harmony

Driving Away
BC - Vocal, Guitar, (right side)
Gary Craig - Drums
John Dymond - Acoustic Bass
Annabelle Chvostek - Guitar (left-side), Duet Vocal

Lois On The Autobahn
BC - Bariton Guitar
Gary Craig - Drums, Percussion
Jenny Scheinman - Violin
Colin Linden - Bass

BC - Vocal, Guitar, Harmony, Chimes
Gary Craig - Drums, Percussion
John Dymond - Bass
Jenny Scheinman - Violin
Annabelle Chvostek - Mandolin, Harmony
Colin Linden - Harmony
Called Me Back
BC - Vocal, 12 String Guitar, Harmonica, Human Grunting Jug, Tibetan Cymbals
Gary Craig - Drums, Percussion
Jenny Scheinman - Violin
Colin Linden - Slide Guitars, Harmony
Celia Shacklett - Harmony

The Comets Of Kanahar
BC - Electric Resonator Guitar
Gary Craig - Drums
Jenny Scheinman - Violin

Each One Lost
BC - Vocal, Guitar, Harmony
Jenny Scheinman - Violin, Harmonies
Tim Lauer - Accordian
Colin Linden - Bass

Parnassus And Fog
BC - Guitar, Harmonica
Jenny Scheinman - Violin
Tim Lauer - Accordian
Colin Linden - Electric Guitar

BC - Guitar, Chimes
Gary Craig - Percussion

BC - Vocal, Baritone Guitar, Guitar

Produced by: Colin Linen
Recorded & mixed by: John Whynot
Additional recording by: Colin Linden
Assisted by: Aaron Holmberg, Nyles Spencer, Albertao Gonzales

Recorded at The Bathhouse, Bath, Ontario
and Pinhead Recorders, Nashville,TN
Mixed at the legendry Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA

Thanks to Jeffery Wood, Janice Powers, Bernie breen, Sharon Agnello

Mastered by: Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound

All songs written by Bruce Cockburn and published by Golden Mountain Music Corp. (SOCAN)
except Driving Away and Boundless which are written by Bruce Cockburn and Annabelle Chvostek
and published by Golden Mountain Music Corp. and Annabelle Chvostek (SOCAN)

Photography by : Kevin Kelly Photography

Art Direction, design & layout by : A Man Called Wrycraft

Translation: Marcel Moussette & Jane Macaulay

The Finkelstein Management Company
137 Berkeley Street, Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 2X1
PH: 416-596-8696 ex 222
FX: 416-596-6861

Editor Note: - Check out Daniel Keebler's photos and commentary from the recording session of this album. In the Studio with Bruce.


10 March 2011 -
Review of Small Souce of Comfort:
Wilfred Langmaid's - One Man's View

March 2011 -

  • Wildy's World
  • Paul Pledger -

  • March 2011 -
    Review by Mark S. Tucker :

    Y'know, it's more than a little sardonic that Bruce Cockburn should even have to be reviewed any more. One should only have to drop a line-"Hey! He's got a new CD out!"-and that should be sufficient to the wider world to hit the record shop and throw down the bucks necessary to procure each gem. From Day One, this guy has provided nothing but top-notch, intriguing, gorgeously crafted releases that hit a zenith in artistry and stayed there. Still, we humans tend to forgetfulness and taking things for granted; thus, critics must e'er quite happily put pen to paper as an excuse to immerse in wonder, relaying the result to readers only too happy to consume both word and note.

    Small Source of Comfort is Cockburn's 31st disc and, not one to rest on his laurels, the Canadian gentleman is forever tweaking expectations and coming up with shockers (as with a past bomb-burst, If I had a Rocket Launcher) and wry twists (Call Me Rose here chronicles Richard Nixon's reincarnation as a lower class mother living in the projects with two kids). Then, as though giving the audience time to ponder the implications, he launches into a display of very well favored guitarmanship in the instrumental Bohemian 3-Step, as sorcerous an exposition as could be expected from anyone. Ah, but this time out, that cut's only one in a trove of five instrumentals, an unusual tack for the stringbender-singer.

    Part of the credit for all this must also go to Colin Linden, musician/producer wunderkind, and violinist Jenny Scheinman (Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, etc.) who measurably boost Cockburn's craftsmanship and recall the old days when Martynec and others abetted the minstrel.though, as golden as that period was, Bruce has evolved into newer fields, weaving ever more hypnotic tapestries, broadening with the time invested. Don't be too put off by his scowling countenance on the cover; everything about his work is eminently approachable though the man himself is never fooled by the illusion of the world nor its siren lures, inditing and indicting them relentlessly, refusing to mellow out philosophically, as incisive and visionary as ever, an anchor in a world just now discovering the true price of long-term self-deception. ~reveiw by Mark S. Tucker from Fame online magazine.

    Reprinted courtesy of Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

    Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this album, by date:

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.