Cowboy Junkies - Sing In My Meadows: The Nomad Series, Volume 3
2011, Razor & Tie/Latent Recordings
Canadian mellow-rock mavens the Cowboy Junkies offer up a different sound beginning on October 25, 2011, with the release of Sing In My Meadows, the third release in The Nomad Series. Going well off the beaten path of their past works, Cowboy Junkies venture into a world of low-fi, fuzzy electric blues and folk. The result is their most compelling album since The Trinity Sessions, full of the bluesy, breathy alto of Margo Timmins, minimalist arrangements and a lot of distortion. The bare bones approach to song construction allows for stark contrasts between Michael Timmins' fuzzy guitar work and sister Margo's unforgettable voice.
Breaking out with "Continental Drift", the band spends the first two minutes exploring the open spaces in the arrangement sans vocals before Margo Timmins slips in the back door with an icy, metallic vocal line that's both warm and cold at the same time. The blues influences come fully to the fore on "Sing In My Meadows", a dark and conflicted invitation that's both beautiful and disturbing at once. "Hunted" is perhaps the most wide-open song on the album, allow room for Margo Timmins to rant and wail and show a much more carnal vocal character than fans might be used to. The closer, "I Move On", sounds more like Chrissie Hynde jamming with Junkhouse than anything you might expect from Cowboy Junkies.
Sing In My Meadows has its ups and downs, but is a thoroughly compelling left turn for a band that honed its reputation on a smooth, mellow brand of anti-folk. Sing In My Meadows plays like the band's dark secret, hidden in a closet for all these years and finally let into the light. It's compelling; aboriginal and full of a dark energy that draws you in.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Cowboy Junkies at www.cowboyjunkies.com or www.myspace.com/cowboykjunkies. Sing In My Meadows drops on October 25th, 2011 on CD. The Vinyl edition will follow on November 15, 2011. Digital versions will be forthcoming through Amazon.com and iTunes, but are not yet available for pre-order.
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