Cowboy Junkies- The Wilderness   Leave a comment

Cowboy Junkies The Wilderness: The Nomad Series Volume 4 Latent

Having celebrated 25 years as one of the country’s most dynamic recording groups, Cowboy Junkies embarked on an ambitious campaign 18 months ago: release four distinct albums within a year and a half. Starting with the exquisite Renmin Park in late 2010, the seminal Canadian outfit have since released a tribute to Vince Chesnutt (Demons) to rave reviews and a set of dark, heavy sounds (Sing in My Meadow) that was remarkably diverse.

The Wilderness may be the strongest album of the four. Certainly it is closest to the ‘classic’ Cowboy Junkies sound: languid vocals from Margo Timmins and delicately complex, occasionally trippy backing tracks that are immediately recognizable as coming from the Ontario-based collective.

The liner notes tell us- if the album title wasn’t enough of a clue- that these songs are about those elements that bind us within their isolation: loneliness, loss, chance, desperation, fragile hopes and elusive beauty. The basic stuff of singer-songwriter efforts since the days of traveling troubadours, then.

One tranquil song effortlessly slips into the next with little but the contribution of visiting guests such as Jeff Bird (mandolins), Joby Baker and Jesse O’Brien (keyboards), and Miranda Mulholland (violin) distinguishing one from another. This consistency in sound is what makes The Wilderness so appealing: nothing jars the listener out of the inviting and profound sound-space the band has created.

By my count, The Wilderness is Cowboy Junkies 15th album of new material. It easily ranks with their greatest recordings such as Lay It Down, Black Eyed Man, and Open.

Originally published in the Red Deer Advocate March 16, 2012


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: