Renmin Park, volume 1 (an intro)

In late 2008, my family and I were given an opportunity to spend three months in China. We were boarded at an elementary/middle school in the small town of Jingjiang situated on the Yangtze River, about two hours from Shanghai. My wife taught English at the school, my three young kids attended a few classes and I spent my days exploring. We also did as much travelling as my wife’s schedule would allow. On one massively intense trip we journeyed to the birth villages of each of my daughters (two of my three children were adopted from China). But, mostly, we inserted ourselves into the day to day life of Jingjiang.

When I say that Jingjiang is a small town I mean that in relative terms. Its official population is 650,000, but its real population is closer to 1,000,000: a mere speck on the Chinese demographic landscape. We were welcomed with open arms by anyone in the town who could put three English words together. Homes were open to us, we were feted at every possible occasion and in every possible style, we created friendships that are only possible under such intense and foreign conditions and had adventures that have already become part of our family lore. It was a storybook experience, overwhelming to say the least, perhaps even life altering for my daughters.

Renmin Park is a reflection of that adventure. It’s a fictional love story about two people whose two worlds will forever keep them apart. It’s a thank-you letter to an obscure city and the people who opened up their lives to five very strange strangers. It’s a personal document about a bewilderingly complex culture that is, once again, experiencing a massive upheaval. It’s another chapter in a band’s ongoing twenty-five year journey.

Here is a rough mix of the albums title track:

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 10:06 am and is filed under news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

28 Responses to “Renmin Park, volume 1 (an intro)”

  1. Linda Hunt Says:

    March 5th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    As they all have for twenty-five years, I am eagerly anticipating all four new cowboy junkies albums that will reach down deep into my soul. Love the new musical influences that are showing up too.

  2. mike k. Says:

    March 5th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    haunting, simple, beautiful … thank you for posting this.

  3. D.A. Hodgkins Says:

    March 5th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    That familiar beguiling voice unfolding another enchanting story … thanks guys for the preview

  4. Derek Says:

    March 5th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for posting this Michael. It sounds great, and I look forward to the albums. And someday, the band’s return to Calgary.

    By the way the music player does not display on my Google Chrome browser for some reason (unknown to me, but maybe one of your more-technical readers will have a suggestion).

  5. Tiffany Says:

    March 5th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    What a fantastic way to end my day. You guys are amazing. Thanks Michael.

  6. Shang Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Wonderful song, Michael. Cannot wait for the full album.

  7. Barry Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Thanks Mike- beautiful song looking forward to the nomad series and seeing you in cleveland, I love the Junkies!! Peace

  8. EFG Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Beautiful. After 25 years you guys sound as fresh as the first time I heard you. On SNL singing Sweet Jane.

  9. Terri Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    A beautiful story, written & in song…Thanks for sharing…

  10. Peter in Guelph Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    wonderful imagery in words and music. Nice work guys !

  11. Peter in Guelph Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    thank you.

  12. William in NY Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Beautiful story and a great song. If that’s the “rough” version, can’t wait to hear the final one. Can’t wait to see you all in Bethel Woods Ny in May!!

  13. Carmen Schneider Says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Great story Mike. I admire you and your wife for your ambition and very honorable sacrafice it took to reach out to these loving children who are in need of a family. I often think about it, but you are an angle to act upon it. I wish you and your family all the best that life has to offer. You know, you are leaving a legacy for your children that they will be so proud of. Your words, your music is soulful and inspiring for all who has the honor to know it. God bless you all!

  14. Mike McDonnell Says:

    March 7th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    WOW! Absolutely love this song. Mike’s writing and Margo’s vocals are haunting. Can’t wait for the full CD. Sounds like it might be (another) creative peak.

  15. P in St Paul Says:

    March 7th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Beautiful…hope to hear it in Minnesota.

  16. Cowboy Junkies « Some Velvet Blog Says:

    June 1st, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    […] Here’s the background on the new album Junkies’ album – Renmin Park, Volume 1written by Michael Timmins: […]

  17. Daniel Says:

    June 2nd, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I was hesitant when I first heard the concept. Most times I’ve found “Project” pieces don’t pan out as intended. I should have known better. It’s the CJ’s. Fantastic song. I’ll be buying the CD tomorrow.

  18. All About The Music » Blog Archive » My Morning Download 6/4/10 – Cowboy Junkies Says:

    June 4th, 2010 at 6:10 am

    […] Here’s the background on the new album Junkies’ album – Renmin Park, Volume 1 written by Michael Timmins: […]

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    June 14th, 2010 at 7:38 pm


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  27. Lowell Lo Says:

    October 14th, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I am of Chinese origins and grew up in Toronto. The mixture of styles hits a cord for me, it’s deep in soul and I feel connected with my roots through the songs.

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