John Cossar

John Cossar


I'm a singer-songwriter originally from Burgeo, a small town on the southwest coast of Newfoundland. My songs are my response to the bumps and bruises of life. Things I should have said. Part serendipity, part sweat, part inspiration. It's a thrill finding the exact words to express an emotion.


John Cossar is a rising star in the Newfoundland music scene. At the age of sixty he has just released his first full length CD "Another Bridge to Burn" to overwhelming acclaim from the media and local musicians. His songs are being compared to the country/folk ballads of Steve Earle, Bob Dylan and John Prine. They are full of power and grace. As a performer he moves people to tears with his honest, humble insights into live, love and the challenges we face.

JOHN BARRY COSSAR was born in the isolated community of Burgeo, on the rugged South Coast of Newfoundland in 1950. His dad, a fisherman originally from Red Island, worked for the local hospital after injuring his back. John's mom, Harriet Dicks, finished Grade Eight, then left school to look after her family. Life in Burgeo in those days was isolated, people there were independent. Thanks to his parents, who were avid readers, the house overflowed with good reading.

His first musical idol was his brother Joe who fronted several rock bands in Burgeo. John's dad was a closet songwriter, who once got to hear a song he had written inscribed to a metal LP disc. John taught himself to play guitar after his mom bought him a guitar from the Sears catalogue when he was fourteen.

He played until his fingers bled, first on the original electric, with a bowed neck and no amplifier, and later on a series of acoustic guitars. He says, "So far I have destroyed eight or nine." John says, "For the longest time I played drunk and stoned in front of a drunk and stoned audience." He calls it his "lost ten years."

Over the years he has lived and worked in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. He started working as a baker in Halifax in the late 1970s. His life has been a gentle drift with the tide from place to place. In 1979 he married his childhood sweetheart Betty Buckland-Cossar, an award-winning textile artist. After ten years of living together and another twenty two of marriage, he lost her to breast cancer in 2001. His daughter Danielle is the light of his life.

These days he finds himself in St. John's, in the wake of a second marriage, living on his own, but more and more pursuing his passion for songwriting and performing. After years of supporting others, this is his time to shine.

John's songs are brilliant meldings of passion with well-crafted lyric. Audience response confirms it: these songs pierce you to the core with their heartfelt simplicity and deft turn of phrase. John Cossar is a songwriter to reckon with, who continues to develop new material, with more than forty recent songs already written, which he hopes to record. Established Newfoundland artists Chris Kirby, Sean Beresford and Geraldine Hollett are impressed by his songs and consider him to be one of Newfoundland's great songwriters. Chris Kirby says John Cossar "writes songs that change lives."

In December 2010 we released John's first CD, a seven-tune sampler titled HEART ON FIRE, at a well attended house concert in St. John's. Signed, numbered copies of that release are still available. It will be a true collector's item. The sampler was recorded with funding from MusicNL.

We applied again for funding for a full album, and again we were funded by MusicNL. Work on the full release began in February and we finished mixing and mastering late in the summer. The album was supported by more than a dozen musicians who contributed tracks, including Chris Kirby, Rick Lambe, Rick Hollett, Craig Follett, Mark Marshall, Roz MacPhail, Dan Rubin, Andrew McCarthy, Chris Davis and Rocky Wiseman. It is a wonderful collection of tunes, very powerful and varied in the musical styles it includes.

ANOTHER BRIDGE TO BURN was released in late September, 2011. It is beginning to gather a lot of attention from local media, musicians and fans. It's a classic collection of fourteen of John's original tunes, a journey of the heart. Copies are available at local outlets and a launch event was held in November, 2011. The CD has been reviewed eight times, all positively. In addition to this attention and being on the bestseller list at Fred's Records in St. John's for weeks, the album has earned a position as nominee, then short listed recording for the Atlantis Music Award.

Over the coming months, you will be hearing more about John Cossar. With a management contract and a record label supporting him, a demo EP and now a full commercial CD released, he is making his mark on the music scene in Canada. In May and June of 2012 John Cossar will be performing in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and across the island of Newfoundland along with Nova Scotia songwriter Jim Dorie, who will be on their "Ballads and Barnacles" Tour. Check John's website ( for details and tour dates.


Another Bridge to Burn

Written By: John B. Cossar

Another Bridge to Burn
(Copyright, John B. Cossar, SOCAN, 2010)

The ugliest woman that I've ever seen
had the face of a beauty queen
and something to prove if you know what I mean
but then again, how could you?

If what goes on behind closed doors,
is something you're never gonna answer for
and you don't know, you're the only one
who has misunderstood you?

You drove me down that lonesome road
from which there's no escape.
Another 'Big-Bang' theory, to blow my brain
but you pulled the trigger too late
I've seen that plot before, and it's so cliche
guess it's the only role you know how to play

Doesn't matter what you know
you gotta be careful what you show
'cuz sooner or later, y'know, somebody's
gonna think they know you

Then, it won't matter what you say
(matter of doesn't matter anyway)
'Cuz you only think that you're okay
but you really don't know, now do ya?

What's left to say when you've crawled away
from a love that was so deep
with nothing but memories and promises
that you're not gonna keep?
Well, I've completely run out of cheeks to turn
And I'm just lookin' for another bridge to burn
I'm lookin' for another bridge to burn

The king is dead and the queen is too
and the castle's falling into ruin...
it's all loosely based on a loony-tune
complete with crazy ending

And Prince Charming fumbles for his clothes,
he knows that he's over-exposed
and everything is full of holes
but it's just himself he's mending

The story of my life
is written in the lines upon my face
The only thing that's real is time
and I don't have time to waste
re-evaluating everything I've learned
while I'm looking for another bridge to burn.

All dressed up, 'n nowhere to go,
sometimes I rock and sometimes I roll
I dunno how the hell I got this old
'cus nothing else has lasted ...

Well, you can go on, closing doors
I only wanna open more
but I've locked the one between us, baby
and you never will get past it

What's left to say
when you've crawled away
from a love that was so deep
with nothing but memories and promises
and nothing left to keep?
I've completely run out of cheeks to turn
and I'm looking for another bridge to burn
I'm lookin' for another bridge to burn
Guess it only proves what I always knew
It's never too late to learn
and I'm looking for another bridge to burn
I'm looking for another bridge to burn

Run-Away Train

Written By: John Cossar/Michelle Moores

© John B. Cossar /Michelle M. Moore 2009 (SOCAN)

I got a restless feeling in my soul,
When I heard that lonesome whistle blow
The train is gone now but the ache remains
'Cus 'ever since thenI've been missing that train.
Yeah, 'ever since then I've been missing that train.
Mmm mmm mmm

Ain't it just life to be just like that?
Like a run-away train on a crazy track
Well I've heard too much about what I lack
I got a one-way ticket and I won't be back

Get out of my way I'm a run-away train.
And stay out of my way, I'm a run-away train
Mmm mmm mmm

'Cus I found out once upon a time
just what is meant by 'love is blind'
And the tears of rage still stain my face
And I'm running away like a run-away train
Mmm mmm mmm

'Cus my life has been a waste of time
A waste of yours and a waste of mine
May as well enjoy the ride
'Cus you can't fast forward and you can't rewind

Cus, after all it's a crazy ride . . .
Mmm mmm mmm
It's like a run-away train
Get out of my way
I'm a run-away train

And stay out of my way
I'm a run-away train
Mmm mmm mmm
I'm a run-away train
Mmm mmm mmm,
I'm a run-away train
Mmm mmm mmm
I'm a run-away train
Mmm mmm mmm.


HEART ON FIRE - Seven Tune Sampler EP: December 2010
released by Blue Island Records (

ANOTHER BRIDGE TO BURN - Fourteen tune commercial CD: September 2011
released by Blue Island Records (

Set List

All Songs Original, written by John B Cossar

Set One:
Newfoundland Stars
Another Bridge to Burn
Fait Accompli
Run-Away Train
Drunkard on a Spree
Heart on Fire
Every Last Hello

Set Two:
King of the Kingdom of Dumb
Wait Up for Me
Beautiful Ugly
Party Time
Wasted Love
Living in the Rhythm
Every Dog Has Its Day