Well, it's about time, Bruce.
When I was first turned onto The Other Boss's music back in 1978, what I noticed behind the cool singing voice and the spectacular, highly-evolved lyrics was a virtuoso plucking and strumming away with wild abandon. No doubt Bruce will always be revered and remembered as a tour-de-force singer/songwriter, but God willing--with the aid of the release of this long-overdue collection of shimmering instrumentals--he will also be remembered as one of the finest guitarists of all time, bar none. Bruce is one of the main reasons I picked up an acoustic and began playing again in the 70's, after having abandoned my guitar lessons when I was an irresponsible kid. He is at the top of a list of guitar illuminaries who have held me....well, speechless, ever since the late 60's: Greg Lake, Stephen Stills, James Taylor, Steve Howe, all 3 members of America, the early Eagles, Furay-Cotton-Young of Poco, Don McLean, Joni Mitchell, Steve Hackett, Eric Clapton, and the triumvirate of Leo Kottke, Peter Lang & John Fahey. Bruce's music is a universe unto itself, but as other reviewers have already stated, you can hear influences of all genres of guitar music in his playing. And 36 years of being in the recording business hasn't snuffed out his fire yet, either--the 3 new songs included on here are astounding. When I saw Bruce perform almost 2 years ago in Lawrence, KS at Liberty Hall, a lot of us walked out of the auditorium after the concert wondering what that cool instrumental piece was that had the echo-plexed guitar solos in it...and how great it is now to know that "The End of All Rivers" is included in this magnificent collection. I can't relate to the whinings in here about there being "not enough new stuff." Please...let the guy do what he wants. He's already given us a few best-of collections of his vocal songs; I, for one, am glad to see a collection like this where his playing takes a front seat to his singing, and remember--he GAVE us those 3 new songs, which he didn't have to do.
I'd like to add this as well as a postscript: Bruce Cockburn is a true gentleman among musicians. After the Liberty Hall concert in 2003, I was very happy to find out that what some fellow Cockburn fans had told me was true: Bruce does enjoy meeting and talking with those who love his music. To have been able to shake his hand, get an autograph, tell him how FURTHER ADVENTURES OF had always been my favorite album of his, and for him to have even let me give him a big ol' bear hug added up to being one of the great moments of my life. And it's a joy to know that in 19 days he'll be here in Kansas City to play again. Got my ticket and can hardly wait. If you've never had the privilege of seeing this man in concert, do yourself the best possible favor and catch him on his current tour. You'll see for yourself what all the brouhaha is all about. Then, if you get the chance, treat yourself to his VHS called MY BEAT, which has some fantastic archive clips of him early in his career.
Bruce Cockburn, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot & Leonard Cohen.....thank God for Canada.