Sing In My Meadow, Volume 3

Track Listing
  1. Continental Drift
  2. It's heavy Down Here
  3. 3rd Crusade
  4. Late Night Radio
  5. Sing In My Meadow
  6. Hunted
  7. A Bride's Price
  8. I Move On
Bonus EP Track Listing
  1. Mountain
  2. My Little Basquiat
  3. Spiral Down
  4. Lay It Down
  5. Follower 2

Cowboy Junkies Are:
Margo Timmins (vocals); Michael Timmins (guitar and vocals); Peter Timmins (drums and percussion); Alan Anton (bass)

Musical Guests:
Jeff Bird: harmonica and electric mandolin (left channel)

Produced, engineered and mixed by Michael Timmins. Recorded and mixed at The Clubhouse in Toronto, Ontario. Mastered by Peter J Moore at the E Room.

All songs written by Michael Timmins except for 3rd Crusade and A Bride's Price written by Michael Timmins and Alan Anton.

Graphic Design by Alice Phieu (alicephieu.com) assisted by Peter Timmins; Cover images by Enrique Martinez Celaya (whaleandstar.com)

SOCAN. Published by Paz Junk Music in North America and Carthage Music in ROW

Sing In My Meadow, volume 3 – Introduction

We started work on Sing In My Meadow, Volume 3 last Friday night. The live band, live-off-the–floor of our studio. Nasty and dirty and disturbing the cold winter night’s peace. The idea for volume 3 is to create an album of music based around the psychedelic, blues inspired forays that we are so fond of venturing off on, on stage. We are referencing Miles at the Isle of Wight deep in his Bitches Brew phase; Captain Beefheart and his Mirror Man psychoses; The Birthday Party live at the Electric Ballroom circa 1981; Neil and Crazy Horse in the back room at SIR….overdriven and thick with electricity.

Here’s a sampling of A Bride’s Price, which came about as we amused ourselves waiting for Margo to arrive and a version of Continental Drift, a song inspired by the Russell Banks book of the same name. These are playback-mixes, what you would hear if you were sitting in the studio with us listening to what we had just put down.  It’s an album about Sex and Violence…….

Sing In My Meadow, volume 3 – Hunted

A few days after we returned from New York we re-convened at The Clubhouse to do some more wailing and gnashing. A few hours was all it took to finish off the recording. We’re going to give the tracks a rest and then revisit them in a few weeks to decide whether we need to go back in and re-work some things. We also decided to take a pass at Hunted while we were all gathered and our amps were set on stun. In many ways it is the template for much of this album. The song has evolved on stage so much over the last decade and a half that the studio version that we have on Pale Sun, Crescent Moon seems irrelevant at this point. I think we captured its current spirit and venom with this take….here is a board mix.

Make sure to check out the first blog post for Sing In My Meadow.

Sing In My Meadow, volume 3 – songwriting demos

When I started to work on the songs for Sing In My Meadow my initial ambition was to write four or five new songs, add a few covers to the mix and then re-work and re-energize a few songs from our catalogue with the spirit and attack that we use on a song like Hunted. But once I holed up at Margo’s farm with my newly refurbished Howard Roberts (thank you Tim), my faithful Princeton II, my awesome Fairfield Circuitry drive pedal, and then plugged in and started to wail, it was just too much fun to stop. I wasn’t too concerned about structure or the intricacy of the lyric. I just wanted attitude and something to drop in the lap of Al, Pete, Jeff and Margo. I knew if I brought them something with a spark to it, they would do the rest. I ended up writing eight new songs for the album. Here are my songwriting demos for Continental Drift and Late Night Radio.

Also, be sure to check out the earlier Sing In My Meadow blogs:

Introduction

Hunted

Sing In My Meadow, volume 3 – Jeff Bird

I said in an earlier blog that one of the aspects of the band that we wanted to capture with Volume 3 was the psychedelic, acid-blues vibe that is a large part of our live show. And a large part of that side of our sound is Jeff Bird’s manic wailing and gnashing. Jeff joined us over twenty years ago when we gathered in a little known church named Trinity. We didn’t know Jeff, but we knew of his work with the folk outfit Tamarac and we knew that Jeff played fiddle and we wanted to add that instrument to our arrangements. There weren’t a whole lot of fiddle players wandering around the punk clubs of Toronto in the mid-80’s….(the clubs are lousy with them these days, as well as mando, accordion and pedal steel players). Jeff showed up with his fiddle, as well as his acoustic mandolin and harps. The rest of that story is, as they say, history. But Jeff stuck around and joined our touring outfit. He played a large part on Caution Horses which was the follow up to The Trinity Session, but on subsequent albums we started to experiment with other musicians and instruments and while Jeff’s contributions were important, they weren’t as plentiful. But as his importance in the studio waned, his importance on the road waxed. Over the years we have asked Jeff to pick up probably a dozen different instruments on stage and he has always done so with gusto. One of his most important “finds” on the road was an electric mandolin that he discovered in a little music store in Boulder, Colorado. He hemmed and hawed about buying it all day and then decided to go for it, unsure of how it would fit in to what we were doing and whether it would find a place in his own repertoire. At first the electric-mando rarely made an appearance on our stage, but over the years, as we have raised our freak flags higher with each passing tour, the electric-mando has become Jeff’s instrument of choice. Jeff made a big return to the studio with us on Open and the electric-mando is featured on a lot of those songs, but on Sing In My Meadow, Jeff’s madness is put on display in all its raging glory….lock up your children, this is scary stuff.

Here is the board mix for I Move On, with no vocals, so you can appreciate all of the subtle nuances of Jeff’s insanity…wail on, dude…

Check out previous Sing In My Meadow blogs:

Introduction

Hunted

Song Writing Demos

Sing In My Meadow, volume 3 – Late Night Radio

When we get back from China (if we get back from China)…I plan to get to work mixing this damn thing and then get it in your hands for those Summer road trips that you all have planned….although with the price of gas these days, one can’t just jump in the car and take off for parts unknown, like the good-ole-days, without first sitting down and doing some serious financial planning. In any case perhaps we can just close our eyes, pop on our headphones and pretend to be eating up those miles. I’ve loved the radio since I was a kid, not just music, but talk shows, sports casts and the madmen. I still listen to it all the time (rarely to music stations, mainly to madmen). I especially like it while I’m driving long distances and it just can’t be beat late at night when most of the world is asleep. I love twisting the dial, pushing the buttons, listening to one station fade in while another fades away, it’s never ending and so magical the way it is just out there (so much more romantic and mysterious than the internet and all the protocols needed to connect to it). Here is a rough mix of Late Night Radio, enjoy:

Late Night Radio

Under his pillow whisper low

They creep in through his radio.

That long-distance howling at the moon.

Wille Stargel at the bat.

Some freak singing about his Siamese cat.

“Ask the Pastor” sowing through his dreams.

Hey girl, wanna touch my soul?

Do you listen to late night radio?

Come away with me.

He likes the way it eats the miles,

The way it pulls you, like a child

Holds your hand,

Briefly lifts the veil.

The way the music curls like smoke,

Where the mildly sane and the madmen float,

The hum of night, the freedom in the air.

Hey love, can I reach your soul?

Do you listen to late night radio?

Come away with me.

Under his pillow whisper low

They creep in through his radio.

All that distance filling up the room.

Firmly locked in the long grey middle

He reaches out and starts to fiddle

Just to hear them howling at the moon.

Hey babe, do you doubt my soul?

But I listen to late night radio.

Come away with me.

Other Sing In My Meadow blogs:

Introduction

Hunted

Songwriting Demos

Jeff Bird

Sing In My Meadow, volume 3 – 3rd Crusade

It took me about seven days to recover from our little China jaunt. Waking up every day at 4am and having my brain switch off at around 3pm. Very hazy waking hours. A few days after returning, I made an attempt at going into our studio and starting the final mix for Sing in My Meadow, but I actually fell asleep at the board. I did one of those full body jerks as I slowly faded to black while sitting there in my chair. So I have fallen little behind. The past two weeks I’ve been going in everyday and blasting my face with overdriven everything, trying to come up with a sound that is rude and ugly, but at the same time, is just plain fun to listen to. I’d send the days mixes off to Pete, Marg and Al every night and they’d get back to me with their comments and I’d adjust and tinker and tweak and try and see if I could get it all just a little bit louder, a little bit nastier, a little bit more gnarled and grouchy and crotchety in keeping with our age and temperaments. I think, I hope, we have succeeded.  I want to make this the album that you put on when you’re trying to clear your living space of partygoers that have overstayed their welcome and you find your new BFF when that one person says, “hey, this is pretty cool…what is this?”. We should have final mixes finished this week, and then I need to mix a bonus EP of five or six unreleased live recordings to be  a companion piece to the album. Then we need to master it and get it up on the website…so it looks like it will be sometime in August by the time we get it all to you. But in the meantime here is a final mix of 3rd Crusade, one of the more “poppy” tunes on the album…play that funky music white boy…and play it loud…

Here are some earlier blogs about the upcoming Volume 3:

Introduction

Hunted

Songwriting Demos

Jeff Bird

Late Night Radio

Sing In My Meadow, volume 3 – My Little Basquiat

I know that we promised Volume 3 as accompaniment for those long summer road trips and then we amended that to late summer road trips, well I need to amend my amendment. The album is mixed, mastered and ready to go: eight songs, forty minutes of wailing and gnashing. But we need time to get all of our ducks in a row…internet ducks, US ducks, UK ducks, Canadian ducks, vinyl ducks…you know…ducks. And its very difficult to line up ducks in the summer time. So it looks like we won’t be making Sing In My Meadow available until October. So instead of a soundtrack for your summer road trip you can use it for your annual Leaf Peeper journey…..not exactly appropriate, but whatever.

We’ve also put together a five song bonus EP of some live tracks that we recorded during the Paths Taken tour. Here is My Little Basquiat from a Park West show. Sorry for the delay folks, we’re running in place as fast as we can…enjoy the music.

Here are some earlier Sing In My Meadow blogs:

Introduction

Hunted

Songwriting Demos

Jeff Bird

Late Night Radio

3rd Crusade