Archive for May, 2013

The Good Family Album

Monday, May 27th, 2013

We here at Latent Recordings headquarters are proud and excited to announce the release of The Good Family Album by the newly minted, multi-generational, super-group, The Good Family. The band is a family affair essentially made up of two iconic Canadian bands: The Good Brothers and The Sadies. Fathers, brothers, mothers, uncles, cousins, nephews, sons and nieces abound in this band and the one thing that glues it all together is supreme musicianship. Folk, bluegrass, country and some good ole Southern-stomp blend together on the album to make up one of the most captivating traditional-styled albums that I have come across in a long time. You can listen to the album for free by clicking on the player below and if you like what you hear please do yourself (and the musicians) a favour and buy a CD or a download of the album. Enjoy.

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Tour Diary – Santa Cruz, CA (May 4, 2013)

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

This is not a bad town in which to end a tour. I've always liked it here, there is a certain impermanence about it, a beach town with lots of hippies and surfers and vagrants and many, many entrepreneurs…its a good blend. The weather was distinctively cooler today, but that's ok, none of us had the energy to travel too far from the bus and venue. We had a fun night on stage, a perfect ending to a very good tour. There are encouraging signs out there, as with the February tour, attendance is up, merch sales are climbing and the band is playing great….all of this helps to get us back out here when the time comes. We have a couple of one-offs scattered throughout the next three months, but mainly we'll be staying close to home and beginning to ponder about our next project. We will also be finishing up a collaborative project that we have been working on for about five years, which we plan to release on November 22nd….but lots more on that to come over the next few months.

In the meantime, the Leafs came out skating and won game 2, so there is hope for at least a competitive series. We carry those dreams back with us to Canada. A huge “thank you” to all who have followed us by checking in on the diary and especially to those of you who spent your hard earned dollars on tickets. Please keep an eye on this space for all things Junkie related….have a great summer, be safe and have fun….we'll be back out there before you even know it.

JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S SARATOGA DIARY: We ditched sleepy Saratoga after breakfast and ran right into the million or so cars trying to get to the beach on a bright and sunny morning. By the time we pulled into Santa Cruz, the weather had turned grey and the temperature was falling fast. The Rio has been home to the Junkies on many occasions over the years. The converted movie theater is nothing glamorous as a rock club but the management has always treated us Junkies fans like royalty. Today was no exception and the good vibes always translate into an awesome show in Santa Cruz.

Tonight's show ended the tour on the highest of highs. The band continued to deliver exceptional takes on the Nomad series and an unexpected addition of "Ladle" to tonight's mix was razor sharp in its ferocity. Presenting the Nomad series as a separate set worked extremely well in the live setting and hearing "Damaged From the Start" each night was a moment to cherish. The second set brought out even more songs that we had not heard on the tour including "Crescent Moon" and the entire River Trilogy. The band let it rip on "Murder Tonight…" during the encore and then the amps were unplugged and the bags were packed to go home. Over eight shows in eight days, the band played consistently brilliant and the changing set lists made each night unique and special.

Last Saturday, I bumped into Margo in a hotel lobby in Seattle and life following the tour resumed just as I had left it. This run down the coast was engineered by long time friends Chris and Stephen and I had the pleasure of not planning any of the details. In fact, the one detail I did plan, my flight home, I booked a week from now which caused some stress after the show tonight when I realized the mistake. Junkies fans, new and old, crossed our path all week and the friendships were easily rekindled. The band and crew were, as always, generous with their time despite the grueling schedule. As I sit here packing my bag (for my new flight from San Fran in a few hours), I am again reminded of how blessed I am in life. To Mike, Margo, Pete, Al, Jeff, Jared, Farns, and the fans who shared a beer or talked story with me this week, thank you for everything and I will definitely see you down the road.

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Tour Diary – Saratoga, CA (May 3, 2013)

Monday, May 6th, 2013

We played the Montalvo Arts Centre a few years ago as part of a Summer tour with Son Volt. That gig took place in the outdoor venue, but this time we are a little early for the summer series so we are indoors in The Carriage House. Nevertheless the Art Centre is an incredible property to hang around for the day. It's centered around an Italian-Mediterranean style mansion built in the early 1900's and set on 175 acres. You can stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens or wander up the hillside through a red-wood forest. I went for a walk up the hill and spotted a Steller Jay (which we don't have back East), a handful of dark-eyed Junco's and a few warblers that I wasn't able to identify. I spent the rest of my pre-soundcheck day in a small garden with my new Ukulele….it was a good day. Unfortunately, back at the venue, John and Jared were not having as much luck. The venue crew, and more specifically, the production manager, were being prickly and difficult, which at the end of a long tour is the last thing one wants to deal with. Despite the unnecessary and unhelpful hostility we did our part and got the job done. It was a good audience tonight and I think it was a decent show, we are running on fumes at this point so its hard for me to gain any perspective. One more show to go.


Somewhere in the hills around Saratoga sits Mountain Winery, a beautiful venue the band played in years past before it expanded seating to accommodate large tours. I have fond memories of this area as a result. Today found us in downtown Saratoga, a city which boasts one of the twenty richest zip codes in America. Exotic cars silently crawled down the streets past high end boutiques and art galleries. Originally a tourist destination built upon the mineral springs in the area, the town has become a haven for the money flowing from Silicon Valley. The security card that stood outside the bank the entire time we were in town probably has the least exciting job in the world.
Tonight’s show was above downtown at a sprawling arts center that included immaculate gardens, winding trails through the countryside, and some of the most anxious staff I’ve encountered at a concert. Every once in awhile, the rock and roll circus arrives at a venue accustomed to more restrained performances and audiences. No matter how many times my chair was moved by the usher due to fire code concerns, I just kept laughing and rolling with the day. There’s no use getting upset over such silly details when there’s music to hear and beautiful trails to explore. The band played the carriage house which is fancy speak for a restored barn, I think. It was an intimate performance highlighted by rarities such as “Five Room Love Story” and “A Few Simple Words” as the band continued working their way through the many requests on this tour. After the show, we returned to downtown to find it already asleep and our drunken dreams of pizza, or even a gas station burrito, were dashed.  

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Tour Diary – San Francisco, CA (May 2, 2013)

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

We arrived in San Fran this morning and everyone scattered, taking advantage of the few hours that we had in this great city tocontribute to its economy. Al bought some vinyl, Pete bought a hat, Jeff bought an origami book, Margo got her hair done and I bought a beautiful mahogany, Hawaiian made ukulele…a birthday present from my parents. It was hot in the city today, but its always a pleasure to be here even if it is only for a few hours. We did two shows tonight at Yoshi's. We have played its sister club in Oakland, but this one is fairly new. They've done a good job at creating a very unique performance space and have put in some good production as well, but it has a bit of a corporate, sterile feel, maybe over time it will develop it's own character. It was a hard night, we are tired and two shows is always difficult. Despite that I think we played fairly well, the second show was a little wacky with a few train-wrecks as our brains slowly shut down.

Pete's ipad sketch of the Bay:

JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S SAN FRANCISCO DIARY Crossing the bridge to San Francisco, I was again swallowed by this mysterious city. I’ve been coming to Junkies shows here for years but I still haven’t fully grasped the lay of the land. A crowded bus ride to Ameoba Records gave me another glimpse at the Haight-Ashbury district but the 60’s vibes of peace and love are felt only in the occasional mural on a wall.     

The show tonight was a doubleheader at a jazz supper club. Would you like a spicy tuna roll with “Square Room”? The first show was being streamed online which meant the stage was swathed in light. It felt like watching a TV show about Cowboy Junkies starring Cowboy Junkies. Surreal in a way but it didn’t hamper a very tight performance highlighted by even more special songs pulled from albums past. Every breath of Margo or the slide of fingers down a string fluttered in the air. The venue staff were attentive without disrupting the live music experience, as good as any I’ve seen from an audience perspective.

The second set was as fun and lighthearted as any Junkies show can be. The band was laughing, the crowd was having a blast, and the set list built off the first set perfectly. We headed out into the San Fran night and ended up in a non-descript bar, literally a hole in the side of a building, where two bartenders recently arrived from Korea tossed dice with us for shots of tequila. We closed down the bar as Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is To Fly” blasted through the jukebox. I still haven’t figured out this city but that might be the charm of San Francisco. Anything can happen.

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Tour Diary – Napa, CA (May 1, 2013)

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Pete's ipad sketch of the Montreal Forum

…and all of a sudden it's summer. We arrived in Napa yesterday morning, stepped off the bus and melted….less than a week ago we were freezing up in Whitehorse, now we are longing for the shorts and sandles that we left back home. But if it's 85 degrees outside it must be hockey playoff time. For the first time in nine pathetic years the Toronto Maple Leafs have made the playoffs and they just happened to be taking on Jared's Bruins. Last night we watched a few of the Western conference matches and realized that our home team couldn't come close to matching the intensity and skill level of those teams….then, tonight, we watched the Bruins dismantle the Leafs and all of our wishful thinking about a sustained playoff run went up in smoke…oh well, they are a young team and with a little tinkering they could be good for a few more years to come. We are just hoping for an over-all better showing than tonights game.

Napa is a strange little town. It's the center of the wine-tourist trade and there is obviously a lot of money flowing through the area. The town looks like it gave itself up to a ski-resort developer, some of the beautiful old stone and brick buildings have been completely overshadowed by a string of faux-period buildings that line main street. Despite that, the Napa Opera House is a beautiful sounding little theatre. We had another very good night.


A much needed day off allowed for a lazy 466 mile drive down into Napa Valley. Mt. Shasta, dressed in snow and ice, stood as a beacon for several hours of the drive before we descended into the warmer California air. Exit signs for Redding and Chico flashed by stirring memories of tours past. The years start to run together with all these tours but there's always the music that brings it into focus. Once upon a time in Chico, the band ended a Northern Cali tour with a droning "Highway Kind" on a dimly lit stage that was as haunting as any performance they have ever delivered.
A night off in Napa meant some wandering around downtown and the first night of the NHL playoffs highlighted by Jonathan Quick's "what the hell was that?" moment in overtime. Oops. The Napa Valley Opera House has become a regular spot for Cowboy Junkies. It's a classy affair in an immaculate theater with sound that is more pristine than it is powerful. That shifted the focus a little more to Margo who delivered stirring takes on "I Cannot Sit Sadly By Your Side" and "See You Around" early in the night. Her phrasing on the latter captured the off kilter brilliance of Vic's songwriting. Unexpected turns with the set list ("Shining Moon" and "Ring On the Sill") gave tonight its own identity and the audience started to come alive towards the end. Some of us ended the evening on a rooftop bar overlooking downtown Napa as an endless array of IPA's were explored. Hard to top such moments out here on the road. Next stop, San Francisco. 

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Live webcast from San Francisco tonight

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

We will be broadcasting our 8pm (PST) show from Yoshi's in San Francisco tonight. You can watch it live (no replays) by going directly to the youtube channel at:

Enjoy the show.

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Tour Diary – Bend, Oregon (April 29, 2013)

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

This town is like a little slice of heaven. Perfect climate, a brew pub on every other corner, a choice of excellent restaurants of all stripes and the Deschutes River winding lazily through the center of town with a beautiful lush park running along its banks. It is also contains the Tower Theatre, which is a beautiful little venue. It was another very good night….the audience didn't seem to come alive until the second set, but we had lots of fun.


Waking up in Spokane, I took the wheel from Chris and Stephen (two regulars on this west coast run for years) and pointed the car south towards Oregon. The winds of the high desert fought the car every inch of the 385 miles we had to cross before tonight's show. It was a long day, one of the tougher drives on a Junkies run, but a perfect small town was waiting when we pulled in. The weather was crisp, a gentle river wound it's way past the small shops, and everybody seemed genuinely happy wherever we went. Deschutes Brewery calls this town home and there was plenty on tap to pass an afternoon. The venue was another one of those lovingly restored theaters nestled on the main street between an actual record store and locally sourced restaurants. Apart from a Starbucks (which was competing with at least five local shops in a four block radius), corporate America seems to have spared this pleasant town.

Tonight was the type of evening that validates those 385 mile drives to reach the next show. The night didn't unfold flawlessly and the passion of the audience wasn't a continual source of electricity for the amps on stage but few would notice. The set list was arranged in such a way that every song triggered an emotional connection to a personal memory, some of joy, some of sorrow. Whatever it is you seek from Cowboy Junkies, it was there for you to tonight. As the band spread their wings on "Blue Guitar", the low tremble of Al's bass felt like the earth stirring with the spirits of Townes Van Zandt and Vic Chestnutt both of whom felt close by on this night.

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