The new 11-track set, recorded in San Francisco, where the Canadian-born Cockburn now resides, and produced by Colin Linden, is titled after the translation of the Latin motto 'Accendit Cantu' that appears on the Cockburn family crest. It is, of course, markedly different than Cockburn's more traditional song-oriented releases, but he says the process is "equally enjoyable." "The big difference is the obvious one -- there are no lyrics," Cockburn explains. "The way I write songs, the lyrics generally come first, and then it becomes a question of finding the right music to carry those lyrics. With instrumental pieces it's more like, 'Here's an interesting riff on the guitar' and that suggests something else and it grows from there. It's a bit like scoring a film; You've got images, ideas, characters that need to be supported by the music but not overpowered by it. It's considerably freer."
Cockburn's playing on Crowing Ignites draws from in international array of influences, ranging from Mississippi Delta blues ("Blind Willie," a nod to Blind Willie Johnson) to Django Reinhardt's gypsy jazz to kalimba on the track "Seven Daggers" and Tibetan singing bowls, cymbals and chimes on "Bels of Gethsemane." The jazz-flavored "Mt. Lefroy Waltz" was originally recorded (in a different format, but not used) for Cockburn's Juno Award-winning 2017 album Bone on Bone.
"Pibroch," meanwhile, nods to Cockburn's Scottish heritage; the title refers to classic Highland bagpipe music, as do his droning guitar patterns. "It's music I find really hypnotic in a stirring kind of way," Cockburn says. "It gets in the blood. It's a very simple melodic motif, a four- or five-note swirl that repeats over the droning part of the bagpipe, and then add a grace note, one or two, over it. It’s quite busy sounding but it develops slowly. It's very meditative, nothing at all like the martial pipe and drum music we're more familiar with from Scotland."
Crowning Ignites is the 10th album Linden has produced for Cockburn, who found a converted firehouse which they turned into a studio for the sessions. "It was a challenge for me to make the record without leaving home," says Cockburn, whose seven-year-old daughter Iona is part of the hand-clapping chorus on "The Groan," which he composed for a Les Stroud documentary about the aftermath of a school shooting. "Colin was enthusiastic about it from the beginning, and we had a fantastic time."
With Crowing Ignites out Sept. 20, Cockburn kicks off a North American tour that night at the City Winery in Nashville, with dates booked into November. As for what's next, Cockburn has not idea -- but says that he's "starting to get the feeling that maybe there will be more writing of some kind coming up. There a point where there's kind of an energy buildup and I start getting antsy because I haven’t written a song for a while. When I feel that, it usually means there's something coming, sooner or later. I haven't thought about it, really, but we'll see."
SEPT 7 SISTERS OR SISTERS FOLK FESTIVAL
SEPT 20 NASHVILLE TN CITY WINERY
SEPT 21 FERDINAND IN FERDINAND FOLK FESTIVAL
SEPT 23 NELSONVILLE OH STUART OPERA HOUSE
SEPT 24 GOSHEN IN JOHN S UMBLE CENTER
SEPT 25 GRAND RAPIDS MI COVENANT ARTS CENTER
SEPT 27 CHICAGO IL OLD TOWN SCHOOL
SEPT 28 CHICAGO IL OLD TOWN SCHOOL
SEPT 29 MINNEAPOLIS MN CEDAR CULTURAL CENTER
SEPT 30 FARGO ND FARGO THEATRE
OCT 19 TORONTO ON KOERNER HALL
OCT 20 LONDON ON CENTENNIAL HALL
OCT 21 ST. CATHARINES ON FIRSTONTARIO ART CENTRE
OCT 22 KINGSTON ON GRAND THEATRE
OCT 24 BROOKLYN NY MURMRR THEATRE
OCT 25 ALBANY NY THE EGG
OCT 26 COLLINGSWOOD NJ SCOTTISH RITE THEATRE
OCT 27 ALEXANDRIA VA THE BIRCHMERE
NOV 8 VICTORIA BC THE ROYAL THEATRE
NOV 9 VANCOUVER BC CHAN CENTRE
NOV 10 SEATTLE WA NEPTUNE THEATRE
NOV 11 MISSOULA MT WILMA THEATRE
NOV 12 BOISE ID VAC THEATRE
NOV 14 SALT LAKE CITY UT STATE ROOM
NOV 15 GRAND JUNCTION CO AVALON THEATRE
NOV 16 DURANGO CO HENRY STRATER THEATRE
NOV 17 BOULDER CO BOULDER THEATRE
NOV 19 PHOENIX AZ MIM
NOV 20 LOS ANGELES CA MCCABES GUITAR SHOP
NOV 21 BERKELEY CA FREIGHT & SALVAGE
NOV 22 BERKELEY CA FREIGHT & SALVAGE
NOV 23 GOLDEN STATE THEATRE MONTEREY, CA--