Saturday, October 3, 2015

Album Review: The Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session

The Cowboy Junkies' second album, released in 1988 was recorded in an old church in Canada ,which gives it a sort of open, spacey sound.  It starts off with the acapella Mining for Gold, which works due to Margo Timmins' fine voice.  It settles into a drowsy country vibe over the likes of Misguided Angel, but some of the high points on this album are actually cover versions, with three particular high points.  The first of these is Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis), which uses the Elvis Presley version of Blue Moon as its base.  Michael Timmins' sparse, echoey guitar provides the backdrop for a fine Margo Timmins vocal.  Hank Williams' I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry is another, it's certainly the best cover of this song.  With subtle, hesitant phrasing, the song creeps along at a snail's pace, with a gorgeous, lazy pedal steel guitar midway through.  

Another high point is a cover of The Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane.  Again, it's slowed right down to narcoleptic pace with a soaring vocal, which arguably betters the original.  It's not all covers, the dark lament To Love Is To Bury conveys enormous yearning in an understated vocal.  200 More Miles is sassier, a kind of bluesy sway with a sort of a bitter tinge, as Timmins sings "there'll be no warm sheets or welcoming arms to fall into tonight".  One or two tracks drag towards the end, but otherwise it's a pretty special album.  Even many years on, its one of the finer exponents of spooked-out country.