Bruce Brubaker artistic skill and understanding of this music is beyond reproach and will thrill any fan of the collected composers work on this CD. The sound quality is outstanding as well. Bruce Brubaker has recorded two CDs on the Arabesque label in a continuing series exploring modern American piano music. The most recent, Inner Cities, was released in September 2003, and includes Brubaker's transcription of Pat Nixon's aria from Adams's opera, Nixon in China. The previous CD, Glass Cage , with pieces by Glass and Cage, was named one of the ten best releases of 2000 by The New Yorker magazine.
It's been six years since Bruce Cockburn delivered a studio offering. His daughter was born in 2012, he assembled a career-spanning box set, and wrote a candid memoir, Rumours of Glory. When he was finally free of his writing and curatorial chores, he wondered if there was anything left to say. A book of poems by Canada's greatest 20th century poet, Al Purdy, provided inspiration. The song "3 Al Purdys," in which Cockburn sings and speaks the yarn of a homeless wanderer under the spell of the poet (and weds his words to Purdy's) is one of the finest tracks here (and one of four to feature jazz cornetist Ron Miles). Cockburn's less concerned with perfection, particularly when it comes to his vocals. In his seventies, his instrument is gruffer, but via Colin Linden's immediate production, it proves a benefit. "States I'm In" is a searing, insightful, rearview look at what Cockburn's witnessed – beautiful and horrible – in his global travels as a musician and an Amnesty International observer.