Cowboy Junkies,
One Soul Now
(Rounder/Zoe, 2004)

Ever since I first heard The Trinity Session back in 1988, the Cowboy Junkies have been one of my favorite bands. They have a great ability to combine elements of rock, folk, blues and Americana roots music. Based in Toronto, Canada, the highlight of their sound has always been the beautiful, soulful, sensuous vocals of Margo Timmons, combined with Michael Timmons on guitar, Alan Anton on bass and Peter Timmons on drums. Likewise impressive is their ability to write great songs as well as giving us some unique cover tunes over the years, most notably Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane."

On their ninth CD, One Soul Now, they continue in pretty much the same vein that has made their music so appealing. One difference is that this CD was recorded and produced entirely by the band with no outside help. They describe the songs as the result of the experience of playing, writing and touring together for almost 20 years.

The CD's title track is a song that was written in 1997, but it seems to have a clearer meaning when you look at what's going on in the world today. "Why This One" looks at uncertainty, which is kind of a central theme throughout the CD. One of my favorite songs is "My Wild Child," which looks at relationships and children and combines some great guitar playing with a great melody.

On the bluesier side, "From Hunting Ground to City Street" includes more typical great guitar playing combined with a cool bass line; its lyrics are built around the story of finding paradise only to discover that it's only a disguise for Hell. "Stars of Our Stars" and "No Long Journey Home" sound like some of their more rock-pop oriented songs. "Notes Falling Slow" gets its influence from Shakespeare and is kind of a sad, bluesy look at relationships. In a similar vein is "He Will Call You Baby."

"Simon Keeper" is a narrative song that looks at how we define ourselves by our work, and the song's character fits in with some recent corporate scandals. The CD closes with "The Slide," which again looks at uncertainty.

This CD, like the most previous one, Open, seems to have lyrics that are a little more personal and introspective. The one thing missing from this CD are any cover tunes, although some limited versions of the CD include a bonus disc with covers.

The Cowboy Junkies are an example of a band that has consistently put out good music over the years, and One Soul Now won't disappoint you.

- Rambles
written by Dave Townsend
published 16 July 2005

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