Picks and Pans Review: Humans
Singer-songwriter Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn) has been named Canada’s “Folk Singer of the Year” four times, but American audiences are just starting to appreciate his talents with this, his 11th LP. (Tour exposure with Warren Zevon last spring and a guest spot on Saturday Night Live helped.) Although a folkie at heart, Cockburn displays rare intellect and a sensitivity that disdains traditional rhyme and meter. The result is music that ranges from cosmic to introspective to icily particulate—as in How I Spent My Fall Vacation. In it, he describes a late night encounter with an Italian cop: “… he snapped the safety off his machine pistol and slid a trembling finger to the trigger/I wanted to say something calming but couldn’t catch his eye/He didn’t want contact—he was trained to see movement.” Cockburn does make contact: His blend of jazzy folk-guitar, reggae rhythms and literate commentary should open some Yankee eyes.