Legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn was honoured at a celebration hosted by the National Music Centre (NMC) in light of his 2017 induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF). The event took place Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, at Studio Bell in Calgary, and was centered around Cockburn formally placing his inductee plaque onto the CSHF wall. A reception followed, featuring a tribute performance by Calgary-based artist Aaron Young.
In her remarks, CSHF Executive Director Vanessa Thomas identified Cockburn as one of Canada’s greatest and most influential songwriters. “For the past five decades, Bruce Cockburn has made music delineated by his spiritual quest, humanitarian activity, and political viewpoint,” said Thomas. “In a body of work encompassing folk, rock, pop, reggae, jazz, blues, gospel and world music, his songs prove, every day, that music can effect change.”
“It’s a remarkable gift to have been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame” said Cockburn. “If it’s not presuming too much, I’d like to offer a word of thanks on behalf of the whole community of Canadian songwriters. The effort to create a home for the pursuit and honouring of our art is much appreciated.”
Since it opened in 2016, Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), has been the physical home of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In December of 2017, the CSHF announced a temporary exhibition at Studio Bell, in partnership with the NMC, to honour the four 2017 inductees—Bruce Cockburn, Beau Dommage, Stéphane Venne and Neil Young.
The exhibition, called “Showcase”, displays personal items and instruments from this year’s honourees, including one of Young’s practice guitars – a vintage 1970s Epiphone acoustic – on which he wrote “Natural Beauty,” from his 1992 Harvest Moon album. Other treasures include the lyrics for Cockburn’s 1984 political anthem “If I Had a Rocket Launcher,” and 1988’s “If A Tree Falls,” along with a Linda Manzer-built acoustic guitar owned and played by him.
Two 2017 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, Paul Brandt and Harvey Gold, are also being feted in the exhibition, which opened on Dec. 13, 2017, and will run until the fall of 2018.