Story by Sarah Deveau
CALGARY, ALBERTA —“There’s one more show in one more town, a drifter ‘til I die. I’ve always been a dreamer, and I’ll stay that way for sure. I may not make it to Nashville, but I can’t stay here,” sings Canadian rock icon Tom Cochrane on his new album Take it Home.
While Wikipedia might claim Tom Cochrane is “known almost exclusively for his hit song Big League,” any Canadian worth their salt can sing every joyous line in his 1991 hit Life is a Highway. It’s a mandatory road trip tune for anyone old enough to remember having to leave the house to buy a new album.
It’s been a long time since his fans have been able to buy a new album from Cochrane – Take it Home is his first release since 2006’s No Stranger. “I kept thinking it was six (years since the last album) but I guess it’s more like eight,” says Cochrane when we caught up with him after the completion of his 14-date tour across Canada. “Time for me is sort of an abstract thing now. There was a time when I was always working, I would do this cycle of making a record, touring, and then I’m out of work, so I have to get back to work. Now it’s purely from a satisfaction and artistic point of view. I make the record that needs to be made.”
Tom Cochrane has no regrets
A few years after releasing his first album in 1974, Cochrane joined rock band Red Rider as the lead singer and main songwriter, leading the band for over a decade before turning to a solo career in 1991. He reunited with the band in 2002 and continues to perform with them today. What brings back the 61-year-old Cochrane from a nearly ten year retirement?
“There’s so much good music out there, it needs to be something that resonates with people and resonates with you. I feel very artistically charged right now,” says Cochrane. “The songs have to be strong songs and try to mean something. I didn’t sit down to write Big League and Life is a Highway to be big records. The songs meant something to me. You can’t fool people. The real stuff is going to shine through and stand the test of time.”
The seven time Juno Award winner splits his time between homes in Oakville, Georgian Bay and Austin, Texas with wife Kathleene. A father of two daughters, Cody and Evanne, he spends his time golfing and owned a float plane for the better part of ten years, travelling across Canada and part of the States. He’s seen a lot of the continent, and played in hundreds of venues, but Alberta holds a special place in his heart, especially the natural amphitheatre in Drumheller .
“The venue in Drumheller was literally biblical. It’s a porous rock and the sound was incredible,” says Cochrane. “Alberta is such a magic place. It is home, in a sense, and really supported Red Rider in the lean days in the 80s and we practically lived there. You’ve got so much, and people should continue to be extremely proud and positive about their province.”
For more information on Cochrane’s upcoming tour dates or to download his new album, visit TomCochrane.com.