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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Trinity Session

Cowboy Junkies

1988

Buy At Rough Trade
The Trinity Session
Album Summary

The Trinity Session is the second studio album by Canadian alternative country band Cowboy Junkies, released in early 1988 by Latent Recordings in Canada, and re-released worldwide later in the year on RCA Records. "Working on a Building" and "Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)" did not appear on the Latent Records release. "Blue Moon Revisited" was originally released on It Came from Canada, Vol. 4 (1988), a compilation of Canadian independent bands. The music was recorded inside Toronto's Church of the Holy Trinity on November 27, 1987, with the band circled around a single microphone. The album includes a mixture of original material by the band and covers of classic folk, rock and country songs. Notable among the songs is the band's most famous single, a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane", based on the version found on 1969: The Velvet Underground Live (1974) rather than the later studio version from Loaded (1970). Also included is "Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)", which is both a cover and an original, combining a new song by the band with the pop standard "Blue Moon". In 2007, the album was performed live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties' Don't Look Back series. Also that year, the band returned to the Church of the Holy Trinity to record a new version of the Trinity Session with guest musicians Natalie Merchant, Vic Chesnutt and Ryan Adams. This new set of recordings was released as Trinity Revisited to commemorate the 20th anniversary of The Trinity Session.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.05

Votes

8761
Genres
Country
Folk

Reviews

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Fri Apr 21 2023
3

If you ever wondered what it would be like if David Lynch was the musical director for in-store playlists at Whole Foods, look no further.

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Fri Jul 28 2023
5

I have always loved the Sweet Jane cover but had never listened to this entire album until now. I am blown away at how ethereal and gorgeous it truly is from start to finish. First time voting an album I've never heard prior a 5....just fantastic.

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Thu Aug 24 2023
2

I'm fighting for my life, man. This is the third extremely slow folk album I've had in a row. Begging on my knees for the generator to bless me with anything exciting. I will not waste my finger joints on a deep analysis of "The Trinity Session" by a band named Cowboy Junkies. Here's an image of a fucked up eagle instead: https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/002/454/854/8f9.jpg

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Sun May 07 2023
3

I feel like reviews will be negative or at least mixed here. This album is definitely not everyone’s thing. It’s quiet, it’s slow, I’d understand if someone called it boring. It has country and blues, but also an element of slowcore that makes it different from other country. This album was recorded in 1988, which predates slowcore by a couple years at least, making this a very unique sound for the time, if not just in general. An album like this is all about time and place. I had it playing late last night as I was staring at the sky, thinking. Perfect for that. If I had played it during the day, wanting something more upbeat, my reception would be different. The soft vocals here are hauntingly beautiful. The mix of covers and originals are kinda cool. The lore surrounding the album is cool. The genre mixing is cool. I’ve been into slowcore recently, so this fitting somewhere into the puzzle of its origin is pretty cool. Put all of that together and I think this album is cool. You could say it lacked real defining moments and that’s fair. But I think albums like this are more about creating an overall vibe and less about making those album defining, standout tracks. I don’t think any of these tracks have a particularly catchy melody so no MMM Favorites: sweet Jane, misguided angel, I don’t get it

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Fri May 19 2023
5

Actually fantastic. If country was actually like this most the time, I would love it.

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Wed May 31 2023
5

I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. I’ve never really liked much country released after the 50’s to 60’s and maybe 70’s, but this is great. The mellow vocals and soft, smooth instrumentation just set such a mood. Actually, the vocals are the best part of it; country vocals are one of my main dislikes of the genre (modern country, not old country), but these don’t feel like that at all. I’ll end the review by saying how good the backstory is: there’s just something inherently funny with claiming you’re a family band to get into a place. (Thinking about it, that makes it sound like it’s common).

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Mon Jun 19 2023
5

9/10 such a lovely album very diverse, and yet it never feels overwhelming

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Sun Jun 25 2023
5

Haunting, beautiful, intimate

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Sun Aug 13 2023
5

I think this is the best live album ever recorded. Margo Timmins has never sounded better.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
4

Unless there is some obscure live album recorded at the Music Hall, this would be the album on the 1001 that was recorded closest to where I live (5 1/2 kms).  I remember seeing Cowboy Junkies at Ontario Place's spinning stage. After standing for the first song, Margo sat on her stool just as some bozo in the audience yelled out: "Play some Zeppelin". Margo responded "Yes I always sit down to play heavy metal"  I always thought that CJ's were the first to do the slow version of Sweet Jane but wiki informed that Lou did that version live in 1969. Lou said CJ's version was his favourite version of the song. Their version of the standard Blue Moon is breathtaking with Margot's voice stealing the show. The additional lyrics they added transformed the song from a happy song about meeting your soulmate to a song about losing your soulmate. I prefer the song as a happy song but hey when you sing and play as well as they do, you have earned your creative license.  Misguided Angel is the best original song on the album and I guess it's a happy song although not obviously. 200 More Miles is beautiful musically and lyrically. The others are good musically and Margot's voice is amazing throughout but I find they are lacking lyrically. 

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Sun Sep 10 2023
4

Nice chance to catch up and revisit an Canadian classic. This album was huge in its day. Several songs on here got a lot of radio play.

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Wed May 17 2023
5

la voix de la chanteuse c’est un 12/5

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Thu Jun 29 2023
5

Get album, ja lyssna de 3 gånger, utrop kopojke musik

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Wed Aug 02 2023
5

I’ve never heard of Cowboy Junkies before, but I’d say it’s reasonable to assume a degree of psychedelia. The album art doesn’t give much in terms of what to expect. A quick Google says this was all recorded in a church with all the members stood around one microphone. That’s pretty interesting. Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Blue Moon Revisited, Sweet Jane I’d say that this album could be considered country/folk. I never thought I’d find myself loving an album with country vibes, but this was quite wonderful. The vocals sound genuinely angelic. Considering all of the instruments are supposedly recorded at once around one microphone, it sounds incredible. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reading a lot about druids, but this felt quite bardic. I loved this.

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Mon Sep 11 2023
5

Woah I think this is the first time I've ever been seduced by an album, mamma mia. This thing exudes sex appeal in all the right ways.

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Wed Sep 20 2023
5

Some really good songs. Very much enjoyed the album, I've even added Misguided Angel and Walking After Midnight to one of my playlists.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
5

That was wholly unexpected, and entirely spellbinding and magnificent. One of this music journey's treasures.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
5

I used to listen to this to go to sleep for years when I was younger. Never not a 5 star!

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Thu Sep 28 2023
5

This was excellent. Atmospheric, kind of distant sounding. Like you were listening to it from the next room, but in a cool way. The originals and the covers blend into each other.

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Thu Sep 28 2023
5

18 year old me knew enough that I was supposed to like this. I’d play Sweet Jane on my college radio station. Or Walking After Midnight. But in all honesty.. as the song said (different tense).. I didn’t get it. 53 year old me gets it. This is really, really good and I’m glad I was reintroduced to it. It’s added to my library and will be listening to it much more.

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Thu Nov 02 2023
5

I didn't know much about the Cowboy Junkies before this. They are Canadian - which is a great start. The first track of this album is a beautiful solo acapella by Margo Timmins. This album is right up my alley. Soulful, country/folk music with subtle harmonies.

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Wed Nov 22 2023
5

surprised by how much i enjoyed this!

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Thu Dec 07 2023
5

That voice...so ethereal....like it's floating above the room. This album was very cool and one that I'd never heard all the way through before. Loved it and will listen again and again. right now actually.

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Tue Dec 19 2023
5

A very bluesy, atmosphere-setting album. I really enjoyed the from start to finish.

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Mon Dec 25 2023
5

YESSSSSSS mining for gold- shaft. sorry. she has a beautiful voice. um idk 6 misguided angel- harmonica. smile. 6. um i dont have a lot to say it makes me think of red dead. blue moon revisited- im already swaying and shit. 7. i dont get it- they live up to the cowboy part. 5 or 6 i got sleepy im so lonesome i could cry- its nice but can hold my attention. you need to be in a mood for this album. 5 or 6 to love is to bury- 7. its sweet 200 more miles- kinda boring. 5 dreaming my dreams with you- sunday type shit. 6 or 7 working on a building- me in my minecraft. god told her to build a building? bokay. 5 kinda boring sweet jane- YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS 10. i dont need to explain. HEAVENLY WINE AND ROSES SEEM TO WHISPER TO ME WHEN YOU SMILE postcard blues- idk like um its cool i dont know im just tired man 5. ill listen to it again later to see if i like it OW OW SUDDEN CHEST AND STOMACH PAIN I SHOULDNTVE SAID IT WAS ONLY 5 walking after midnight- harmonica. more swinging. 7 or 8. ummmm idk its a good album you just need to be in a certain mood or have just shot up. um yeah.

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

The only Cowboys Junkies album that I know. It does not rock but here it does not matter. Atmosphere is perfect (weren't the songs recorded in a church or so) Timeless classic.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

have always loved this album, all time best

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Thu Jan 25 2024
5

My intro to the Junkies and still one of the best. Thanks Jess!

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Sat Feb 03 2024
5

I must’ve heard this somewhere along the way but when I listened I was surprised at how this sounded. They have a beautiful, ethereal take on country with some really nice covers. Fantastic!

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Sat Feb 03 2024
5

With its sparse instrumentation and sultry vocals, this is a stunner from the first notes.

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Sat Feb 03 2024
5

It’s a beautiful album with special sentiments for me.

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Sat Feb 03 2024
5

I love in this project when you get something just so wonderful that you've ignored for 35 years even though it wasn't like you didn't hear of them and didn't have their wonderful version of "Sweet Jane" floating around all that time. You mean we could have been friends all this time?

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Tue Feb 06 2024
5

Brilliant. Standouts: Sweet Jane, Blue Moon Revisited, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, I Don't Get it, Walking After Midnight. 4.5

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Thu Feb 15 2024
5

Great version of 'Sweet Jane' and another interesting take on 'Blue Moon'. I played this on repeat all day and never got bored. Soft, dreamy female vocals over a sort-of modern country-type backing. Loved it.

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

God, this album felt timeless. Truly, if you asked me to guess what decade this album came from, I wouldn’t be able to. Simple lyrics sung by a beautiful voice , with comforting music to accompany it. I listened to it twice, and will likely listen to it again.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
4

Sparse, ethereal, magical, surprisingly wonderful. The story of the recording is also really cool.

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Fri May 05 2023
4

Disco tranquilo y reposado con una excelente voz suave. Con pocos instrumentos y canciones relajadas

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Fri May 05 2023
4

This is a good one. Has the feel of being in some backwoods bar with a low-key local band playing as you slowly drink yourself into a blackout. And of course it's like the grandaddy of slowcore, so there's no way I wouldn't like it. Gotta be in the right mood for it I think, but it fuckin' hits if you're there.

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Tue May 09 2023
4

I really enjoyed this. Recording session story was cool.

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Thu May 11 2023
4

This album has great blues undertones

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Wed May 17 2023
4

Really good! Loved the vocals.

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Wed May 17 2023
4

I know the band name, not the music. And glad I discovered it, thanks! Not life-changing, but lovely, haunting music. But does any track stand out? Nope.

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Sun May 28 2023
4

This album is spacious. The sound is subdued in a very intentional way to a very ethereal effect. It sounds as if I’m listening to this music in a smoky room in a memory that is not my own. This album was recorded in a church so that accounts for the echoey atmospheric sound, but the band itself had a classic country touch that feels updated and timeless all at once.

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Mon May 29 2023
4

Perfect mood setter moving into the Memorial Day weekend. Plaintive vocals and just enough instrumental to make a very easy to listen to set.

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Wed May 31 2023
4

Perfectly grim Sunday music.

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Thu Jun 08 2023
4

This is the kind of country I can fuck with. Her vocals are GORGEOUS and the minimal, chill instrumentation fits them perfectly, allowing them to breathe but still maintaining interest.

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Thu Jun 08 2023
4

Was not expecting to like this at all based on the title and the first notes; was blown away by the end by how much I appreciated the blues here. Not an everyday listen still.

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Wed Jun 28 2023
4

Felt more country and progressively got a more blues feel. Steel lap guitar and harmonica solos were my highlight

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Thu Jun 29 2023
4

I guess I thought of this band as more of a country band than they seemed to be on this album. The songs were a lot more torch song-y, which I enjoyed. The songs have that spur of the moment feel, which I liked. I enjoyed the performances, but they did start to sound very same-y after awhile. I was surprised because I really thought of the band as being something different than it was, and I'm going to have to check out more of their stuff...

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Thu Jun 29 2023
4

Som gjort för dygnets tysta timmar!

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Fri Jun 30 2023
4

Great country album with covers that delight. I loved the vocals and laid back vibe.

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Mon Jul 17 2023
4

Alternative country,country rockfolk, blues. Casi todas, voz mujer superbonita.

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Fri Jul 21 2023
4

J'ai vraiment aimé. un album country qui se démarque avec de bon cover et une chanteuse qui vole le show parfois. Une réécoute pour un album tranquille qui s'écoute bien et mais un ambiance calme. 4.10

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Sat Jul 29 2023
4

I just wanted to point how much of a coincidence it is that I listened and reviewed this while in the Toronto airport for a layover. An early example of slowcore, this record consists of dreamy covers and re-interpretations of classic folk, blues, rock, and country tracks. A bit on the long side, it's full of some great jammy songs. "Blue Moon" is one of my favorite Elvis songs (due to his haunting voice) and this is a fantastic follow-up to it. It starts and ends with strong pop / rock tracks with the middle feeling like a lucid dream.

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Sun Jul 30 2023
4

First time hearing this. I have heard of the band before but was unfamiliar with their music. This album is quiet, reserved and amazing. Standouts: Sweet Jane, Misguided Angle, Blue Moon Revisited, I'm So Lonely I Could Cry, Walking After Midnight. Others: I Don't Get it. Mining for Gold, Postcard Blues. Amazing album. I can't believe I've never heard it before. 4/5

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Fri Aug 11 2023
4

me gustó. La mezcla de covers y canciones originales, más la atmósfera y la instrumentalización lo convierten en un disco de "onda": hay que estar en la misma para sentir la vibración

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Sat Aug 12 2023
4

At their best they sound like they could be the house band at the Roadhouse in Twin Peaks. Simply amazing the way it was recorded with one mic and no overdubs. The natural reverb and atmosphere that was captured is gorgeous. The songs I like best are the ones where it's just the core group members and no additional guest musicians. Austere and haunting.

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Sat Aug 12 2023
4

On the surface this is underwhelming, but as I listened more and learned more about it - recorded on one microphone, in a single day (more or less) - it started to grow on me. There is something captivating and calming about the minimalism.

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Thu Aug 24 2023
4

Quite a charming record, reminds you of quiet nights indoors, perhaps it is raining outside, lights down low, reading a book... This isn't shaking any trees but it is extremely well done and accomplishes what it sets out to do.

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Thu Aug 24 2023
4

I did not expect to like this so much. Almost a 5

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Sun Sep 03 2023
4

A very lovely 53 minutes of quiet country blues recorded in a church around a single microphone. The record somehow captures that slow, calm, reverent atmosphere. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Sweet Jane Date listened: 02/09/23

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Mon Sep 04 2023
4

Definitely a unique sound. A little monotonous, but good throughout.

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Tue Sep 05 2023
4

I liked this one. Nice and mellow rock.

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Fri Sep 08 2023
4

Beautiful, spare country soaked in reverb. Sad and slow (but sometimes sexy), it’s definitely music for a certain mood. Excellent covers of “Blue Moon” and “Sweet Jane.”

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Sun Sep 10 2023
4

I already had their cover of Sweet Jane marked as a favorite and was pleasantly surprised by the rest of the album. I've heard the band name many times before, but I never dove in until now. It's very David Lynch-esque with its dramatically slow & mellow vocals & vibes. It's the type of bluesy country you'd find in Twin Peaks. I dig it & will definitely listen again.

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Sun Sep 17 2023
4

Really good album that I somehow have never heard. Come back and re listen later.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
4

loved this album, love the band and the lady singing! Sweet 4 stars

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Mon Sep 25 2023
4

22 year old me was very into this album. I haven't listened to it in years, but it still holds up. It was like a breath of fresh air, going against the tide of music at that point in time, similar to how the Band and Bob Dylan were playing rootsy Americana music when the world was going psychedelic. It's mellow and atmospheric. Margo Timmins' voice is sublime. Their version of Sweet Jane is one of the best covers of that song I've heard. 4 stars.

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Mon Oct 02 2023
4

I am actually surprised I never heard this album before. It is squarely in my family's wheelhouse of country adjacent folk music like Nanci Griffith. I love the mix of an original song and a cover on Blue Moon Revisited. Ultimately, this band is probably too country for me to pick up much these days, but perfect for a passing time on a rainy day and a pleasant surprise.

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Mon Oct 02 2023
4

College music, I was so young and unexposed. I thought the Velvet Underground and Elvis had covered the Cowboy Junkies. Never my jam, but this one still lives on in my heart.

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Thu Oct 05 2023
4

First time I listened I wasn’t real into it but on listening again I really liked it.

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Sat Oct 07 2023
4

They didn't quite steal "Sweet Jane" from Lou Reed like Aretha took "Respect" from Otis, but it's close. I flat out love the Elvis tribute, and the acapella opening is stunning. All the Cowboy Junkies you'll ever need. It sounds years ahead of its time and somehow timeless. You could tell me it was recorded yesterday or 1977 and I'd believe you.

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Sun Oct 08 2023
4

Surprisingly bluesy and downtempo. I really enjoyed this, even though it had a bit of samey bloat.

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Sat Oct 14 2023
4

This album had a little bit of almost every genre that I love but the whole didn't quite live up to the sum of its parts. It had the sound of a slower, bluesy black keys album and the sultry, haunting vocals of Beth Gibbons from Portishead, and while I really really enjoyed this album, there was something about it that kept me from unconditionally loving it like I do Dummy or Brothers. It might just be that there weren't many energetic songs to keep things fresh but I also liked each of the slower songs. Either way, if I was going through a breakup or setting a sexy mood in a rural Southern town, this album can cover both. Between these guys and The Band, Canada really did produce some great country/blues/folk artists.

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Sun Oct 22 2023
4

I am always in awe of Margo Timmins' voice. Soooooo good! I remember some of these tracks from when this album was in release in the late 80s. I hadn't listened to them at all since then so it was nice to hear this album in full for what I think was my first full listen. I don't think I'd heard their cover of "Walking After Midnight" before. Like a lot of their music, they arranged it to be a bit more sparse and haunting yet it also has soul. Nicely done. They are a talented band and this is an excellent record.

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Thu Oct 26 2023
4

Unique album and sound. Feels familiar while also completely distinct. Can see myself returning to this.

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Sun Oct 29 2023
4

I wouldn’t normally give good marks for an album with so many covers but this is a lovely piece of work. I’m no fun of country either. But this is worth a listen.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
4

A dark take on the classic country sound, with all of the songs (covers and originals) having a distinctly dreary vibe. The session has a lot of mystique around it, and that is certainly evident in the music. My only critique is that it sticks to pretty much one sound, which can make the listen drag a little by the end, but the sound itself is very well done

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Fri Nov 10 2023
4

Enjoyable! Fair number of covers.

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Mon Nov 27 2023
4

Alternative country,country rockfolk, blues. Casi todas, voz mujer superbonita.

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Fri Dec 01 2023
4

I could see myself listening to this on the dock at arrowhead

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Thu Dec 07 2023
4

Pleasantly surprised… I liked this album. I never listened to them as I was turned off by their radio hit. A common mistake in my musically arrogant teen years

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Thu Dec 07 2023
4

I didn’t know the cowboy junkies had a girl!

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Mon Dec 11 2023
4

Yeah, I liked this. It was slow, felt like watching the waves on a beach or something like that. But the singer had a pretty voice, and it felt very personal. The blog mentioned this was recorded with the full band around a single microphone, and I felt that. This sounded like I was attending a small, intimate concert, and I liked it.

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Fri Dec 15 2023
4

I'd definitely heard the Sweet Jane cover, but the whole thing is really nice. Really low key, gentle stuff. Not for every day, but for right now.

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Thu Dec 21 2023
4

Super slow burn and sort of same-y, but I’m crazy about the vibes here. Incredible atmosphere and an arresting singer help form a strong if unorthodox album. Best song: 200 More Miles

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Thu Dec 21 2023
4

Absolutely beautiful, if a bit same-y

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Wed Dec 27 2023
4

01) Mining For Gold - 7,0 02) Misguided Angel - 8,5 03) Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis) - 8,5 04) I Don't Get It - 8,0 05) I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - 8,0 06) To Love Is to Bury - 8,5 07) 200 More Miles - 8,0 08) Dreaming My Dreams with You - 8,0 09) Working on a Building - 8,0 10) Sweet Jane - 9,5 11) Postcard Blues - 7,0 12) Walkin' After Midnight - 8,0 TOTAL: 8,08 (81/100) I can almost imagine myself sitting in that church while they're playing and recording. And I enjoy the worship. Listening this on a cloudy winter tuesday morning is definitely helping to set the mood. Very nice.

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