I have been waiting for this album for quite a while now. Don't get me wrong - I really like Bruce's thoughtful and provoking lyrics (I like to think of his songs as poetry set to music), but he is also a great musician, and he can paint a picture without words just as well as he can with words. I love it that I can now, when I just want to let the music wash over me, listen to just one CD rather than having to shuffle the dozen or so albums that he has done over the years that include instrumental pieces - it's a lot more relaxing that way.
True, 11 of the pieces here are "old" and can be found spread out over 8 or 9 albums, but 3 pieces are brand new, and one was only available in Japan until now. That doesn't change the fact that these are still great pieces of music and great to listen to. This is a compilation album, and compilation albums are a blend of old and new. It seems silly to complain that it follows the well-established format for a compilation album and rate it artificially low because of that. I will be looking forward to the new Cockburn album which is supposed to be coming out this year, but I will be enjoying this album in the meantime (if I can manage to keep it out of the hands of the kids, who also enjoy it a lot).
Bottom line: if you like good lyrical guitar music that tells a story and that you can relax to, this is a good album to get. And it's a good introduction to Bruce Cockburn as a musician rather than just as a singer/songwriter.