Bruce Cockburn

Life Short Call Now

Bruce Cockburn’s newest release is another first for the 61-year-old singer-songwriter. While everyone went ga-ga over Neil Young’s latest release, complete with potshots at George Dubya, Young did so using recalled rock riffs. Not Cockburn. This Canadian employed a string orchestra to emphasize his anti-war, anti-Bush sentiment. With song titles like “Peace March,” “Jerusalem Poker” and “This Is Baghdad,” plus a graphic showing a bullet blasting through equatorial Earth, Life Short Call Now pulls no punches. Powerful orchestral arrangements and jazz-infused trumpets, coupled with the power of Cockburn’s wailing tenor, implant an evocative, tearful, pit-of-the-stomach album. In a line from the cut “To Fit in My Heart,” Cockburn writes “God’s too big to fit in a book.” Creating music since the late 1960s, he once again adds to his litany of craft-speak on Life Short Call Now. Perhaps Cockburn is too big to fit on a CD.