Cowboy Junkies – [Album]

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

For the last twenty-three years (at least), the Cowboy Junkies have cut a solid and celebrated career out of accentuating both the 'southern' and the 'gothic' ends of the term 'southern gothic' – essentially enhancing and focusing on those two elements and injecting some broken soul into the mix while ignoring all else. The band has poured itself into that – thereby indulging in the darker side of human psychology if only to function as the light in that darkness – and managed to make it wildly attractive; each release has a few transcendent moments, and those are what have both won and satisfied fans since The Trinity Sessions happened in 1987. Needless to say, it has worked for the band and worked well; and it if ain't broke, don't fix it.

The Cowboy Junkies are clearly aware of that common wisdom, and the proof of that knowledge lies in Renmin Park. From the beginning, the pace and tone of the record are as methodical as ever and listeners will find themselves incorporating those tones into their own bodily rhythms quickly. As that happens, small things begin to make a profound impact; when that melancholy acoustic guitar hits its' E minor in the title track, for example, listeners will notice that their gaze subconsciously shoots downward, and it refuses to stay fixed in one place as the textures and bass swirl continually in “Sir Francis Bacon At The net.” The final cue that listeners are hypnotized by these proceedings comes when they feel an electric shock run up their spines at the same rate as the slide guitar's changes in “Stranger Here.”

In that moment, all doubt is removed. The only way listeners are getting out of this is if the Cowboy Junkies release them and not before.

Because they know there's no way out, listeners begin to watch in amazement as the hazy images of “A Few Bags Of Grain,” “A Good Heart,” “Ciccadas” and “A Walk In The Park” slowly come into focus and reveal twisted images of sadness and beauty; it's misery, magnificence and mirth all at once – and, while they remain dry-eyed, eventually they come to feel every note. As “Coda” closes the record much the same way it came in, listeners will be reaching for the repeat button to feel it all again.



Cowboy Junkies – “Ciccadas” – The Nomad Series Volume 1 – Renmin Park

Cowboy Junkies – “Stranger Here” – The Nomad Series Volume 1 – Renmin Park


The Nomad Series Volume 1 – Renmin Park
comes out on June 15, 2010 through Latent Recordings. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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