Tom Cochrane doesn’t have much left to prove.
Only, perhaps, that the veteran Canadian musician can still give us rock songs from the heart – with just enough pace and crunch to keep it interesting.
And the 61-year-old Cochrane delivers with his new album Take It Home, out Feb. 10.
His first release of new tunes since 2006’s No Stranger, this new disc runs the gamut from good-time songs to rock’n’roll and ballads – along with a common theme, that it’s always important to dream big.
Cochrane has been making albums since 1974’s Hang On To Your Resistance, through his years with Red Rider and a solo career highlighted by 1991’s Life is a Highway, a driving rock song which still gets radio play.
But he evidently still has the itch, the drive to write songs that matter and to test them on the road. Cochrane starts another Canadian tour on Valentine’s Day, in Thunder Bay.
Take It Home kicks off with Can’t Stay Here, which proves Cochrane and his crack band can still rock, can still find a groove and drive it home.
This album drips with southern influence, however, from the likes of JJ Cale, Ry Cooder, even The Band – who were four-fifths Canadian.
Probably the best example is Country Girls (and Rock’n’Roll) Never Get Old, a song with some real stomp which tells the story of woman still chasing a dream, a tale Cochrane has told before.
In fact, the inside cover dedicates the album to ‘All the characters along the way whose stories I’ve borrowed and told’.
When the Light Starts to Fade is an example of Cochrane and company finding a slower groove, then laying it on thick.
The Ones That I’ve Known are Cochrane’s homage to two inspirational figures – American civil rights heroine Rosa Parks and Terry Fox, a Canadian whose courage is still remembered.
He’s not entirely serious though. Sunday Afternoon Hang isn’t about much more than kicking back, having a few pops and enjoying a weekend by the lake, with a few good tunes to listen to along the way.
Cochrane’s distinctive voice hasn’t suffered much as the years have passed. The highs aren’t quite as high now, but he still has that low growl that drives a lyric home, that lets you know he’s singing about something important.
But with any good album, it all starts with the songs and Cochrane clearly knows his craft.
Take It Home is chock full of good songs and Cochrane picks just the right ingredients to make them work.
Give it a spin, and take another listen to a Canadian legend.