Christmas with Bruce Cockburn (or in my case, a remedy for the Holiday Blues)

How in the holy frijoles is it December already? And why do I get the same stressed, panicked feeling every year? And why do I harbor such resentment against those who get their Christmas shopping done early (or prance gaily around their yards stringing up their lights the day after Thanksgiving)?

*deep breath*

The truth is, when I put myself in the mindset of how much I enjoyed the holidays as a kid, I can actually get some of those warm, good time-y feelings back. And having two little kids adds to the fun too. But man oh man, the stress returns every year, as sure as the commercials.

Music, of course, is the key to bringing back some of that positive holiday energy. Since 1994, this collection of tunes has steered the way (or the sleigh, heh). I taped this special off the radio that holiday season. I’ve said this all before, but Bruce Cockburn is a warm, comforting musical presence in my life, and listening to him sing these great songs and play the guitar like only he can – well – it’s better than a fridge full of nog.

Now, Nanci Griffith joins Bruce here, and sings some songs of her own (“Wexford Carol”, “Grafton Street”, “Going Back to Georgia”, etc.). But it’s the Bruce tunes that resonate with me: “Shepherds” opens the show, and has always been a song that pops into my head throughout the year, for some reason: “Glooooooria, in the hiiiighest.” I’m not heavy into the religion, mind you, but when Bruce sings, I’m a believer; “Deer Dancing Around a Broken Mirror”, a spirited and lush instrumental tune; “Huron Carol”, a song written in the 1600’s by a Jesuit missionary to the Huron Indians, and sung in the Huron language. Bruce gives a wonderful introduction, and reads the English translation beforehand; and of course, two favorites of mine: “I’m Gonna Fly Someday” and “One Day I Walk”. Sublime.

Enjoy. And hey, happy holidays, eh? Oh, and always a reminder for you fellow Yanks that haven’t heard of Bruce from the great white north – it’s CO-Burn. Co sounding like So. Ho ho ho.

“Christmas with Cockburn” (ZIP of mp3’s)
The Columbia Records Radio Hour, 1994

Wexford Carol (Nanci Griffith)
Brave Companion of the Road (NG)
Deer Dancing Around a Broken Mirror
I’m Gonna Fly Someday
Grafton Street (NG)
Going Back to Georgia (NG)
One Day I Walk / Intro to Huron Carol
Huron Carol
Mary Had a Baby


  • Jo

    but when Bruce sings, I’m a believer

    How true that is.

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ll even have to burn a copy for my mom!

  • Laura

    Thanks Pete, This will make me smile as I love the music and though am Buddhist also become a believer when listening to Bruce! I miss the shows and was looking to see if there was going to be one anywhere in the world when I found your page. I have my copy now and will play it this week.

  • Clark

    This is cool, I’ve been looking for it for a while. I also found listings for Columbia Radio Hour Cockburn Christmas specials every year from 91-95 with different artists. Any idea if these are available? Especially interested in the 91 show with Sam Phillips and T-Bone Burnett.

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