Life Short Call Now

Known for his honeyed voice, nimble fretwork, and smart wordplay, Canadian Bruce Cockburn employs all this — plus glockenspiel, flugelhorn, and Ani DiFranco — on his 29th album. From the romantically hopeful ”Mystery” to the anxious ”Beautiful Creatures” (swollen with exquisite melancholy and a 23-piece string orchestra) to the Bush-bashing ”This Is Baghdad,” Life Short Call Now is split between pro-love and antiwar songs. Cockburn explores their shared urgency (plus some jazzy instrumentals), which makes for a choppy, though often gorgeously scenic, ride.

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