Monday, October 19, 2009

Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session (LP, Classic)

Apologies, once again, for my tardiness. Will attempt to be somewhat regular with updates in future. But don't hold your breath.

A gem I recently picked up is the Classic Records 200 gram vinyl reissue of the seminal Cowboy Junkies album, The Trinity Session. The Cowboy Junkies consists of three siblings – Margo Timmins on vocals, Michael Timmins on guitar and Peter Timmins on drums – and their longtime friend Alan Anton on bass

Recorded in the Holy Trinity Church in Toronto, Canada, the album was made in one night using one microphone and a DAT recorder. Who says great albums can't be made in a day?

The Trinity Session is a mix of blues and country covers and originals, but all the tracks on the album are given airy, slow-tempo treatments that allow them to slowly and deliberately unfold. This treatment is accentuated by Margo Timmins's extraordinary voice. Ethereal and cool, her voice fills an almost unimaginable space, especially on "Blue Moon Revisted (Song for Elvis)".

The other tracks that stand out on the album are the original "Misguided Angel" and the cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" (which includes the lost verse). "Sweet Jane" is definitely the linchpin that holds this album together, and as the band states - "The last piece to this very abstract puzzle was Sweet Jane. The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed embody what we feel rock music should be about - slightly out of step, intelligent, groove orientated and original. They have to be listed as one of the great rock bands ever and Sweet Jane, for better or worse, is one of their most recognized songs. It was and still is the backbone of cover bands all across America. It has been pitilessly slaughtered countless times on countless nights on countless stages around the world. We thought, 'lets take it and see if we can breathe new life into this tired old work horse'. We got our inspiration from The Velvets live album entitled 1969. To be honest it is one of our straighter covers, we didn't change it a whole lot. Originally we had tried to record it for the Whites album, but we never got the right feel. For this collection of songs we chose Sweet Jane as being 'our song - this is what we listened to growing up, this is where our musical tastes come from'".

The Cowboy Junkies recorded Trinity Revisited in 2007, joined by artists who were shaped by the original - Natalie Merchant, Ryan Adams and Vic Chestnut. I haven't torn the shrink wrap off that one yet, but it's probably nowhere near being as good as the original.

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