Picture of Bruce from inner sleeve High Winds, White Sky

Bruce Douglas Cockburn was born on the 27th of May 1945 in Ottawa (Ontario). He grew up in Westboro which is part of Ottawa. His father, Doug Cockburn, was a radiologist at Ottawa Civic hospital. His first guitar was one he found around 1959 in his grandmother's attic. He played along with radio hits in his youth and took lessons. He also learned to play piano by the organist at Westboro United Church which he and his family attended. Then he attended Nepean High School where he mentioned his desire was to become a musician. After graduating he took a boat to Europe and played music on the streets of Paris (France). Then he moved to Boston (USA) where he attended Berklee School of Music. He quit this school and went back to Ottawa where he joined a band called "The Children" for a year. More bands followed when he lived in Toronto: "The Esquires" and "The Flying Circus" (soon renamed in Olivus).

Original album cover - 1970 Bruce Cockburn
Olivus opened for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream in April 1968. Before going solo he first joined the band "3's a Crowd". His first solo appearance was at Mariposa Folk Festival in 1967. In 1970 he finally released his first self titled solo album. The single "Going to the Country" reached the Canadian charts. 

Bruce live on stage in the 70's

His early work featured rural and nautical imagery and Biblical metaphors. For four years in a row he was rewarded with Juno awards (1971-1974). His first three albums are part of an accoustic trilogy where he sounds very mystical and created a feeling that resembles the cold Canadian winters. It's full of romance and drama.

Inner sleeve picture of High Winds, White Sky

On the cover of his second album from 1971 "High Winds, White Sky" he stands at the foot of a bridge in a winter landscape. Bruce describes himself as a "spiritual loner who sought truth in nature". Images and references to rivers, birds, mountains and especially sunlight can be heared in his lyrics. Bruce became heavily influenced by Buddhism. There's the ragtime blues of "Happy Good Morning Blues," the ambitious minor-key troubadour folk of "Love Song" and the slide guitar country of"One Day I Walk" with its universal theme of homecoming. "One Day I Walk" has been covered to date by people like Anne Murray, Tom Rush, The Skydiggers and The Rankin Family.  “Golden Serpent Blues” features one of the rare instances of Cockburn’s piano work.

Original album cover

High Winds, White Sky (1971)
Happy Good Morning Blues / Let Us Go Laughing / Love Song / One Day I Walk / Golden Serpent Blues / High Winds White Sky / You Point to the Sky / Life's Mistress / Ting/the Cauldron / Shining Mountain

Let Us Go Laughing

Golden Serpent Blues

High Winds White Sky