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Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn opens his latest album with an up-tempo song that declares that he is still “on a roll.” And he is! In his late 70s, his latest release, O Sun O Moon, is a strong and thoughtful album. After the “On a Roll” prelude, the second song, “Orders,” seems to present the thesis statement for this album. He lists many types of people who are unlikeable; fighting neighbors, cynics, drunks, even a crooked priest, to name just a few. But he ends each verse with a line that echoes 1 John 4: “The list is long—as I recall, the orders are to love them all.”

As O Sun O Moon progresses, the theme of treating other people well comes across often. Many of these songs were written in the immediate aftermath of the COVID lockdown, and his point seems to be that we’re all in this (whatever “this” happens to be) together. Cockburn’s voice shows that he’s not a young man anymore, but his writing remains incisive and his guitar playing and expressive singing delivers his faith-infused songs with the gravitas of someone who has done this for a while. While he never mentions God directly, those who have ears to hear can’t help but notice that his songs are informed by his reading of Scripture.

The performances are top-notch. Cockburn’s acoustic guitar playing is outstanding while not being showy, and his arrangements never overshadow his voice. This is one of those albums that gets better if you sit with the lyrics in front of you while listening, and with each listen you might find even more to like. (True North Records)

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