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Bruce Cockburn enjoys a mostly quiet life in The City

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Folk rock veteran Bruce Cockburn plays in Berkeley and Santa Cruz this week. (Courtesy photo)

When Canadian folk-rocker Bruce Cockburn plays Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage this week, backing his latest album “Bone on Bone,” he won’t be crashing at a roadside motel afterward. He’ll be sleeping in his own bed, right across the Bay Bridge, in his home in San Francisco, where he’s been quietly residing for nine years. “My wife — who’s an attorney — and I were living in Brooklyn, and I was still commuting there from my other house in Canada,” says Cockburn, 72. “Then she got a job in the Bay Area, and we moved out here, to a town where nobody gets by on just one income. But we love it.”

What neighborhood do you live in here?

Well, I’d rather not have too much attention focused on exactly where I live.

Do fans show up unannounced?

So far, the only person who’s showed up — and she showed up at our door –was this psycho fan that I have that’s Canadian. Fortunately, I wasn’t here, so she left a note on the door. She left her phone number, with a “Just passing through — gimme a call!” She’s just a pesky person who’s been around for decades, but her activities have abated of late, so hopefully — fingers crossed — she’s outgrowing this. But in terms of the local folks, they kind of know what I do, but none of them are particular fans that I’m aware of.

Where do you find yourself hanging out?

I’ve got a 6-year-old daughter, so I hang out at home. I have a place where I go to practice, and the rest of the time I run errands. So I truly do not hang out anywhere.

Have you written about San Francisco yet?

Well, I could do that. But I don’t. I’ve found that after any period of trying to do that, I actually ended up with the same amount of usable material as I would have if I had just waited for the good ideas. I tried that in the beginning, almost 50 years ago. And ever since then, I’ve just been waiting for the good ideas. So if an idea comes, I have to seize it and wrestle with it.

Our city is so aesthetically inspiring, though.

There was a song on the last album, an instrumental piece called “Parnassus in Fog,” and that’s a product of living here. And there’s a new song called “Café Society” that’s about the cool gang of folks that hangs out at the local Peet’s in the early mornings. And we live in an era where community is an increasingly rare and precious commodity.


IF YOU GO

Bruce Cockburn
Where: Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 7-8
Tickets: $40 to $44, (sold out)
Contact: (510) 644-2020, www.thefreight.org
Note: Cockburn also appears at 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.

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