This T-Bone Burnett produced effort finds Cockburn returning to the more introspective quiet spirit of his earlier work, including his most open Christian expressions in years, particularly "Cry of a Tiny Babe," a Cockburn-style Christmas story, and "Somebody Touched Me." "One of the Best Ones" is classic reflective Cockburn. Although not one of his best albums, it's a nice breather from the relentless heaviness of his last few efforts.
Bruce Cockburn has returned to the more reflective spirit of his earlier efforts. Cockburn has gathered a new complement of musicians who obviously empathize with his muse. Jackson Browne, Michael Been (The Call), Booker T. Jones, Jim keltner, Larry Klein, T-Bone Burnett, and Sam Phillips are among those present. While "Nothing But A Burning Light" doesn't consistently deliver the intensity or his best efforts (Humans for example), it is certainly better than average Cockburn, which is still something to behold.
Musically, he incorporates a little bit of everything in his new
album, from strained, Neil Young-like vocals to a reggae beat to Duane
Eddy-like tremolo electric guitar.
But lyrically he's a male Amy Grant-a lot of his songs might appear on the surface to be about romantic love, but they're really about the other Great Big Love, or else about how the Big Guy orchestrates the romantic and spiritual order of things (A Dream Like Mine).
Cockburn doesn't ram anything down your throat, though, and he has a nice enough presence -- a calming quality -- that he may even make you thing a little. Any pretensions about being the next Dylan, however, are long gone.
Douwe van der Zwaag