Cowboy Junkies surprised me (and others) a little like this once before, when their Live! EP (1992) closed with an arrangement of “Sweet Jane” much different than the hushed recording that helped to make them famous.
Heavy But Lithe
Nothing like that low-key intensity of their early records but an outgrowth of some of their live tendencies, Sing In My Meadow (2011) is the only Cowboy Junkies album I occasionally get a real craving to crank up start to finish.
On this set of originals, Margo Timmins delivers with authority over a propulsive rhythm section and other assorted rude sounds.
I could go the obvious route and try to play the Neil Young card. But that’s really more about the guitar tone, while the Junkies have a slinky gear here.
The experience also presents a different edge because, well, as great as he is, Neil’s not Margo. But it’s probably best to just hand it over to Michael Timmins:
“So this past February the live band (the four of us plus Jeff Bird) gathered in our studio to record all of these songs over a four day period. We approach them all live-off-the-floor: nasty and dirty and disturbing the cold winter’s nights peace. We tried to channel Miles at the Isle of Wight, deep in his Bitches Brew phase; Captain Beefheart and his Mirror Man psychoses; The Birthday Party live at the Electric Ballroom circa 1981 (Margo, Al and I were in that audience); Neil and Crazy Horse in the back room at SIR….overdriven and thick with electricity.“
Not just an album that surprised me, but one of those where writing about it always makes me want to pull it up.