Bruce Cockburn gets stamp of approval 

In his native Canada, there aren’t many awards left for 66-year-old folk rocker Bruce Cockburn to win.

He has received five honorary university doctorates, been inducted into the Canadian Broadcast and Music halls of fame, made a member of the Order of Canada and promoted to officer.

There’s also the fact that realm of musicians, including the Barenaked Ladies, k.d. lang, Jimmy Buffet and Judy Collins, have covered his songs.

But this month, the composer of thoughtful hits such as “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” and “Wondering Where the Lions Are” will savor perhaps the ultimate career triumph: his very own Canadian postage stamp.

“It’s totally bizarre!” says Cockburn, who will perform at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on Wednesday, backing his new 24th recording “Small Source of Comfort.”

Click the picture to see the Canadian Post Office's commemorative stamp of Bruce Cockburn.

“The Canadian Post Office contacted my manager, indicated that they were planning to include me in their series of musical artists, with Robbie Robertson and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and asked if we would provide them with a photo on which to base their design,” Cockburn says. “Then we were asked not to tell anyone until they could announce it.”

It’s a great-looking piece of postal art. Set against a rosy backdrop of his song titles, it features the silver-haired singer looking appropriately professorial.

“Just the other night, we were playing Ottawa and a bunch of people from the post office came to the soundcheck, and I got my picture taken with a big poster-size mock-up of the stamp,” he says. “And I hadn’t seen it up until that point, so it was kind of neat. I think they did a really good job with it.”

Cockburn would like some first day-of-issues. But he probably won’t be home in Kingston, Ontario when they arrive. The perpetually restless socio-political commentator recently visited Afghanistan, where his brother was stationed, to play for the Canadian troops — who temporarily presented him with his own rocket launcher, post-concert.

This led to two “Comfort” cuts — “The Comets of Kandahar” and the stark “Each One Lost,” inspired by the sight of two flag-draped soldiers’ coffins being ceremoniously shipped home.

“They don’t show that in the States, but it’s never been a secret in Canada,” says Cockburn, who’s also visited war-torn Iraq. “And it was very moving — I was actually in tears.”

But posting letters with your own official image affixed? Cockburn is cheered at the thought. But he hasn’t bought out his local post office yet, he says, adding, “But yes, I think it would certainly be fun to send out mail with me on the stamp! And several people have already insisted that I start doing that.”


Bruce Cockburn with Jenny Scheinman

Where: Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco

8 p.m. Wednesday

Tickets: $38

Contact: (415) 655-5600,

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Tom Lanham

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