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The Cowboy Junkies @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Nov. 29, 2007

Dec. 12, 2007
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December 06, 2007

While some Cowboy junkies watched their Dallas football team beat the Green Bay Packers during Thursday's televised game, a more musical breed was taking the stage at Turner Hall Ballroom: Canada's Cowboy Junkies. The stark, unfinished ballroom was a blank canvas easily transformed to suit the energy of the band and its fans. The warm candlelight and comfortable seating (including, if you were lucky, beanbags planted in front of the stage) created an ambiance that matched the Cowboy Junkies' intimate and soulful performance.

On tour promoting their newest album, At the End of Paths Taken, as well as Trinity Revisited, a re-recording of perhaps their best known album, 1988's The Trinity Session, the band showed off a two-hour set sampled from a 22-year-old library of richly textured songs. The five-piece band played with a graceful and intuitive cohesion that can only be forged from time. Since forming the band in Toronto in 1985, the Cowboy Junkies continue to perform with the same core lineup of musicians: singer Margo Timmins; songwriter, producer and guitarist Mike Timmins; drummer Pete Timmins (all siblings); and bassist Alan Anton. Multi-instrumental talent and longtime collaborator Jeff Bird also sat in on mandolin and harmonica.

Throughout the evening, Margo's vocals were smooth, rich and unhurried. The group's instrumentals were spot-on from beginning to end. The band members really demonstrated their superb musicianship, particularly their understanding of and ability to manipulate an electric instrument's reverb on "It Doesn't Really Matter Anyway." Slow, sexy and raw, the Cowboy Junkies covered Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," as well as Townes Van Zandt's "Rake." Reminiscing about their time playing with Van Zandt, Margo joked, "Townes' songs make my songs sound happy." Though their sound can be described as morose, one leaves a Cowboy Junkies' show feeling oddly uplifted.  


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