After more than 40 years of songwriting, 66-year-old Bruce Cockburn shows few signs of slowing down. A member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame—he even has his own postage stamp!—Cockburn keeps making great music and piling up awards. In early December, he nabbed two Canadian Folk Music Awards for Contemporary Album of the Year and Solo Artist of the Year.
Cockburn has spent much of his adult life making music, fighting for just causes, and sharing tents with soldiers in war zones around the world. He's the first to admit that he's surprised this music thing is still humming along.
"It's kind of amazing," he says, laughing. "How did I get here? How did I last this long? I remember when the idea of living to be 40 seemed absurd. Here I am at 66 and I'm still doing this—and it still feels fresh. It still is very, very far from being old hat or boring."
One reason for that is Cockburn's many travels and experiences, including a late 2009 visit to Kandahar, Afghanistan to see his brother, Capt. John Cockburn, and the Canadian troops. That trip influenced a number of songs on his 31st and most recent album, Small Source of Comfort (True North Records), which released in March 2011.
Cockburn says his brother had been an ER doctor specializing in anesthesiology before joining the army later in life. Cockburn says his visit to Afghanistan was unique.
"Since the early '80s, I've found myself in war zones in various parts of the world," he says. "This was an opportunity to go to a war zone that I had a personal connection, and to see a war zone in the company of Canadians. It was an amazing experience. I came away with the same amount of skepticism about the war that I went in with, but what I hadn't expected was how ...