Bruce Cockburn: "The Coldest Night of the Year"



I held this one back until we truly had a really cold night here in Massachusetts. Which we did indeed have last night. This song hooked me from the first time I heard it sometime back in the early 80s. It starts off with a grooving triplet feel on guitar that sets up the introduction of some mellow Fender Rhodes piano. Then the opening couplet seals the deal: "I was up all night socializing / Trying to keep the latent depression from crystallizing." When I think back to my early days, it's fair to say I had a lot of fun. The thing was, it was about 80% fun fun, and about 20 percent desperate fun. So I hear what Cockburn is saying. After those opening lines, the melody elevates in bars 8 through 12 in a really cool way, before resolving nicely in the final bars of the verse, with lyrics that explain the main idea of the song. At this point I'm all in, so it's a nice bonus when, a bit later, a pretty strong bridge is followed by a soaring soprano sax solo. I often hit repeat on this one.

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