The Cowboy Junkies have been a stalwart on the Western music scene since the band was formed in 1985. The Canadian band of four is mainly a family troupe: Margo Timmins on vocals, Michael Timmins on guitar, and Peter Timmins on drums. Alan Anton, who plays bass, was a member of Michael’s two previous bands. Their renowned The Trinity Session was recorded in 1987 at Torontoâ€™s Church of the Holy Trinity and is a quintessential album in any audiophileâ€™s catalogue. Their latest endeavor shows their wide reaching talent and ambition.
Over an 18-month period, the Cowboy Junkies are releasing four albums, collectively titled The Nomad Series. The first, Renmin Park (2010), and the second Demons (2011) were released with critical acclaim. The third, Sing In My Meadow, is equally well-produced. Recorded over a four-day period in 2011, the album highlights the blues-inspired adventures, and Michael Timmins described the album thusly: â€œWe wanted the album to revolve around those psychedelic, blues-inspired forays we are so fond of exploring on stage. We approached the songs all live-off-the-floor: nasty and dirty and disturbing the cold winter’s nights’ peace. We tried to channel Miles at the Isle of Wight, deep in his Bitches Brew phase; Captain Beefheart and his Mirror Man psychoses; The Birthday Party live at the Electric Ballroom circa 1981 (Margo, Al and I were in that audience); Neil and Crazy Horse in the back room at SIR â€¦ overdriven and thick with electricity.â€
â€œSing in My Meadowâ€ is the best song from the latest album. Margoâ€™s haunting voice, Michaelâ€™s dark yet peaceful lyrics, the eclectic tap of cymbals, and the tension of harmonica drives Margoâ€™s voice into a delicate dance of melancholy and oblivion. The final song, â€œI Move On,â€ features the very best of those â€œpsychedelic, blues-inspired foraysâ€ that Michael described, while Margo rapturous vocals sing, â€œ51 years, A child upon the Earth, Trying to find the answers, Without digging in the dirt, So Iâ€™ll never know, And Iâ€™ll move on.â€
The albums are not the only part of this ambitious project. The band plans to write a book that will explore the characters on each of the albums. All four album covers feature work by Enrique Martinez, whose publishing company, Whale and Star, just so happens to be publishing the book.
Sing In My Meadow is out now on Latent Recordings.