It's been almost 10 years since Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn entertained fans in Newburyport.

The wait is over.

Cockburn, 66, will take the stage at Nock Middle School auditorium Saturday at 8 p.m. when his current tour arrives in Massachusetts.

His performance comes on the heels of the release of his newest album, "Small Source of Comfort." Released in March, his 31st album offers listeners a blend of acoustic folk, blues, jazz and rock.

Cockburn's range of new compositions draw from his own experiences and musings — while still highlighting his sense of humor in certain songs.

"Each One Lost" and "Comets of Kandahar" were penned following Cockburn's visit to Afghanistan in 2009.

In "Each One Lost," the musician reflects on a ceremony he observed for two Canadian Forces soldiers who had been killed and whose coffins were being flown home.

Cockburn called the ceremony "one of the saddest and most moving scenes I've been privileged to witness."

In an example of his love of politics and activism, the folk-rocker added "Call Me Rose." It is written from the point-of-view of former President Richard Nixon, who has been reincarnated as a single mother living in a housing project with two children.

Asked how he came up with the song, Cockburn said he simply had the lyrics on his mind one day. From there, he created the melody.

"I woke up one morning with it in my head," he added. "I don't remember dreaming it. There it was."

The song is a break from his norm, Cockburn acknowledged. He theorizes that it began to take form as he listened to what he dubbed "a media campaign to rehabilitate Nixon's image."

He began to question what the "actual rehabilitation of Richard Nixon would look like," he said.

Soon, Cockburn was singing, "My name was Richard Nixon only now I'm a girl/ you wouldn't know it but I used to be the king of the world ... I was an arrogant man/ but now I've got it in hand/ it's not what I would have chose/ now you have to call me Rose."

Of Cockburn's 31 albums, 20 are gold and platinum. The Canadian music icon has received numerous honors and recognitions in his native country for his musical contributions and humanitarian work.

In addition to 13 Juno awards, he has been awarded seven honorary doctorates. He received the Order of Canada in 1983 and was promoted to officer in 2002. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2002.

And, just recently, Cockburn's likeness began appearing in mailboxes when the Canadian post office added him to the Canadian Recording Artists stamp series.

"I'm pretty tickled about that," he said of the new stamp — which he has both sent and received. "I have a stash of them."

But beyond all of the music awards and honors, Cockburn said that the recognition that has mattered the most is being received into the Order of Canada, which recognizes his contributions beyond just the music field.

"I'm quite proud of it," he said.

His newest CD takes its name from a line in one song — it describes the moment when dawn is breaking, Cockburn said. The image resonates with people, he added.

"In other words, at least the sun's coming up," Cockburn said. "It's a very small source of comfort; it isn't the end of the world, yet. It's kind of ironic."

Fans will notice a slight change in his style with his newest album, Cockburn said.

"It always changes a little, and it's always recognizably me," he said. "This album is a bit more folky than some of the albums I've made lately."

It could be considered reminiscent of some of his material from the 1970s, he said.

For this last leg of his tour, Cockburn appears solo — a style that allows for a greater degree of intimacy with the audience, he said.

"I'm looking forward to it," Cockburn said. "It's a different kind of experience."


What: Bruce Cockburn

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Where: Nock Middle School auditorium, 70 Low St., Newburyport

Tickets: $44.50; they can be purchased at Dyno Records, 1 Middle St., Newburyport,, or by calling 978-462-9630.

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