Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Winter Months: January in the Halifax Airport Lounge

Bruce Cockburn: January in the Halifax Airport Lounge


We Americans have always been slow to discover Canadian artists, if we do at all. Bruce Cockburn was already almost ten years into his career when we finally noticed. By that time, Cockburn had gone through a spiritual crisis, and gone from being a man with no noticeable faith to becoming a devout, although nonsectarian, Christian. January in the Halifax Airport Lounge dates from the beginning of that process, and it possibly offers some hints as to what sparked it. Here, Cockburn seems to face the prospect of being separated from his loved one, apparently to fight a war in Cyprus. (Does anyone know why “ Some Winnipeg boys are Cyprus-bound” in 1975? If so, please respond in the comments.) Then again, could Cockburn’s narrator be feeling not the sorrow of human parting, but the fear of having been forsaken by God? It may be a stretch, but it would be bourn out by the direction Cockburn’s songs soon took.

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