Darted to the Heart of this Bruce Superfan
Kelly L. Planer | Eastern PA | 08/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dart to the Heart is one of my absolute favorite Bruce Cockburn Albums - and rates with my all-time favories Charity of Night, Circles in the Stream, and High Winds/White Sky.
Where the music wasn't what the record company wanted (said Bruce at a conference I attended, "I don't think they were looking for love songs, but that's what they got..."), Bruce delivers one poetic emotional notion after another. Highlights are "Pacing the Cage," ("I never knew what you all wanted - so I gave you everything... All that I could pillage... All the spells that I could sing..."), "Southland of the Heart," ("When you're hands are full of thorns but you can't quit groping for the rose"), "Closer To the Light," ("starred at the ceiling till my ears filled up with tears... Never got to know you - but suddenly you're out of here..." "Another step deeper into darkness - Closer to the Light")
Not a song on the list that isn't real, expressive, honest, and compelling.
Where I had a crush on Bruce after listening to "You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance," I am in unabashed musical LOVE after listening to 'Dart.' Thank you, Bruce. You truly showed me what music should sound like."
Mellowness from a mellow guy
R. J MOSS | Alice Springs, Australia | 02/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If Canadian, Bruce Cockburn has ever released a weak collection, I've yet to hear it. He holds a position similar to Australia's, Paul Kelly: respected within his own country, revered as a musician's musician. Their work is varied, always with lyric interest, topical, tight and well considered. The common comparison is the Dylan, Thompson pairing, similar folk rock grooves, and three to four decades of production. But it is immediately apparent that the first mentioned pair fare less well as singers than writers. Bruce's vocals express a dry world weariness that is entirely appropriate for his ecological concerns. These are politically astute, but have the least reach, a common fault of sermonizers. His love songs are every bit as richly nuanced as anything from Dylan or Thompson. His heart is in the right place, and though neither pious or smug, a little humour might elevate the texts. I've retained,'Dragon Jaws', 'Talking Timbucktu, and this one('Dart') and though each has its own temprament, there's not a lot between them. The early,'Sunwheel Dance' had an easy bucolicism that immediately converted me to Cockburn country. David Wiffen, an old cohort, covered,'Up on the Hillside' with Cockburn on guitar on his great,'Coast to Coast in 1973, which is where I disovered Bruce. Pity Wiffen couldn't sustain his music career and cover more of Cockburn as his rich baritone enhances the colour of Cockburn in an engaging way.(I see Wiffen has a late career CD,'South of Somewhere', in 1999) When Cockburn visited these shores in the late 70s, about the time of his first Oz distribution,'In The Falling Dark', he filled a sizeable auditorium and pleasured us with a marathon set from his already, prolific catalogue. How his fingers danced over that cobalt blue acoustic guitar! A remarkable musician who seems able to draw from a limitless well."
Pleasant Mixed Bag from a Tremendous Talent
Doggymcnuggets | Bedford, IN USA | 06/21/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bruce Cockburn's "Dart to the Heart" from 1994 is a difficult one for this longtime fan to rate. It contains some of Cockburn's most tender and beautiful love songs in the ballads "All the Ways I Want You" and "Someone I Used to Love." Many of the songs on the album are in fact among the artist's most personal and direct meditations on love to date. The song "Closer to the Light," written in memory of fellow singer/songwriter Mark Heard upon his death, is aching and hopeful at the same time and is a wonderful expression of sorrow and wonder in the face of mortality. The two instrumental tunes on the album, "Train in the Rain" and "Sunrise on the Mississippi," are also classic Cockburn and remind us just what a gifted and underrated guitarist he is. Many of the songs on the album are strong first-rate Cockburn. But where "Dart to the Heart" falls short for me is with the more upbeat tunes. The opening song "Listen for the Laugh," for example, is a propulsive horn-driven number that might have worked, but somehow gifted producer T Bone Burnett fails to capture a compelling vocal performance from Cockburn to match the organic rock sound. Similarly raucous songs "Scanning These Crowds" and "Tie Me at the Crossroads" fall short in the same way, with Cockburn's vocals feeling forced and uncharacteristically non-melodic. We know that Cockburn can rock under the guidance of his producer, as demonstrated by songs like "A Dream Like Mine" or "Somebody Touched Me" from 1991's "Nothing But a Burning Light" which was also produce by Burnett. But for whatever reason, the faster songs on the album lessen it's otherwise intimate, earthy appeal. Bruce Cockburn is one of those rare artists who simply doesn't produce any bad stuff, so the album is easy to recommend. There are some really powerful and moving songs on the album that make it well worth a listen, but the somewhat flat, hollow performances on the faster songs hold the album back a bit overall."