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Folk singer Bruce Cockburn still standing up for free speech

Bruce Cockburn was presented with the Folk Alliance International conference’s inaugural People’s Voice Award in Kansas City, on Feb. 15, 2017.

Andrea Brookhart

"Who will end up being the last line in the defence of truth? Maybe you and me." After being presented the Folk Alliance International conference's inaugural People's Voice Award on Feb. 15, in Kansas City, the troubadour-guitarist Bruce Cockburn delivered an impassioned speech on free expression and the duty of the songwriter in dangerous times. "It seems evident that the current administration is not much interested in democracy," said the currently U.S.-based Cockburn, speaking to the folk-music crowd about the Trump regime. "They are trying to stifle opposition across the board by a range of means. Looks to me like they're just getting started." An artist noted for tuneful intelligence, passionate lyricism and politically conscious songs such as If I Had a Rocket Launcher, the 71-year-old Cockburn is set to release his 33rd album, Bone on Bone, in September, with a tour to follow. Perhaps he, too, is just getting started.

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Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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