I was really looking forward to this one:  Jeff, Kris and I had one rehearsal ten days ago when Kris and I met up with Jeff for the first time. I knew Jeff was steeped in Cockburn material and we really hit it off, familiar with most of this collective material. Synch.

Tonight, we got together for a sound check/review before the gig and got our feet on the ground. We started off with Wonder Where the Lions Are, and in spite of some arrangement fluffs, it was a good start with – one of Bruce’s more familiar tunes and a great sing-along, too. We then passed around the lead for the next two hours and actually had enough material to fill it.

The conversation was sparse tonight; most folks had a passing knowledge of the Bruce while some were quite into him (like the dudes on the stage). We were comfortable in backing each other up and Kris did a yeoman’s job on bass, really nailing the chord changes and went a long way into establishing the songs. I particularly enjoyed being able to improvise on mandolin for their tunes. I did well leading my repertoire, in spite of some small kerfuffles, it was great to play these tunes in an ensemble, something new for me. 

I was able to share my deep appreciation of Cockburn’s genius: his amazing guitar chops, his musical diversity, global humanitarian philosophy, deep spiritual connections and (importantly to me) relatively non-dogmatic Christianity. I really respect that. His spirituality couples with his musical/poetic creativity I find magnificent.  He is the best.

I brought out:

  • Wonder Where the Lions Are (E) – trading verses with Jeff
  • Mamma Just Wants to Barrelhouse (E) – always a pleasure to play
  • Foxglove instrumental (C tuning) – almost pulled it off, Kris surprised me with his bass accompaniment. Good though, for next time.
  • The Blues Got the World by the Balls (G) –  a nice, funky finger-pick blues
  • Cry of a Tiny Babe and Mary Had a Baby, two of my favorite Christmas tunes.
  • What About the Bond (Bm) – my current favorite, a reggae-esque tune, nailed it.
  • Tokyo (E) – 80’s rocker that is quite different in my current repertoire. nailed it.
  • If I had a Rocket Launcher (E) – still a great historical and, yet contemporary song – good presentation but I missed the ending, again. Still…..

Kris also brought out some nice tunes on 12-string guitar, bari mandolin (that was a hoot), solid bass and was the glue for the evening. My friend.

  • Love Loves You Too – (D)
  • Whole Night Sky – (C)
  • Waiting For a Miracle – (C)
  • Southland of the Heart – (Bb) (baritone mandolin)

Jeff has a great repertoire that I haven’t covered but covet. He was struggling with tuning his old Martin, and was somewhat new to this “listening” audience, but he settled in with some great tunes. He had Coldest Night of the Year in reserve to follow up the dark Rocket Launcher with a point-on love song on a very cold November evening.

  • Wondering Where the Lions Are (E)
  • Peggy’s Kitchen Wall (D)
  • Last Night of the World 
  • All the Ways I Want You (G)
  • Pacing the Cage (E)
  • See How I Miss You (C)
  • Rocket Launcher (E)
  • Coldest Night of the Year (D)

The audience hung in there for a long evening. If this were a weekend gig, it would be a good two-set night. Folks seemed to like it and we played well, shared the stage as friends and got our Cockburn on. We agreed that we should do this again. It’s just great music. A rare treat for us all.

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