Posts Tagged ‘The Wilderness’

The Wilderness – $5 special on Amazon

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Amazon will be selling The Wilderness as a digital download for just $5 throughout the month of June (USA customers only). The album has received some very nice reviews:

“…a gorgeous new album…” – NPR All Songs Considered

“Each word and note of this album feels so deeply percolated and thoughtfully placed
that it’s hard to believe that this is the fourth record the experienced Canadian altcountry band have released in 18 months.” – Daily Telegraph

“Consider this music a salve for the soul – restful, resigned, pretty and pensive… and yet as fragile as it is fleeting.” – Blurt

Also, please check out the complete Nomad Series box set if you haven’t already:

“Cowboy Junkies may never step out of the shadow of their seminal The Trinity Session recording, but there’s no reason the ambitious opus of the Nomad Series couldn’t otherwise serve as their masterwork.” – Paste

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The Wilderness – Post Media review

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Canada steps up again with an excellent national review throughout the Post Media chain. The album is now on sale and there are all sorts of bargains out there, including here on our own website and on Amazon. Also, if you live in the US mid-west make sure that you check out the upcoming Tour dates. we have also just announced a cross-Canada Tour opening for John Mellencamp (we’ll be adding our own shows to that tour in the next few weeks).

The Wilderness – The Nomad Series: Volume 4

4 stars

Considering the self-imposed time restriction, the Nomad Series – four albums within less than two years – has been distinguished by a startling lack of filler. It has also been distinguished thus far by sturdy conceptual frameworks; going by that criterion, The Wilderness is the weakest of the lot, connected with tenuous threads of loneliness and existential quests (according to songwriter Michael Timmins) that could apply to almost any Junkies disc. But taken as a standalone release, this is one of the discography’s crown jewels, featuring some of the group’s purest expressions of melancholy. Especially in light of the 5-month-old Sing in My Meadow’s cacophonous jamming, The Wilderness feels like a return to the quietude of the band’s early days, although the peppy comic relief of F—, I Hate the Cold makes it very clear that the Junkies aren’t bound by their history.

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The Wilderness on sale today

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Wilderness is officially on-sale today at all your favourite sites and stores (including our own). Amazon is offering the album as a digital download for only $5.99 all of this week. They are also selling Demons and Renmin Park for only $5.99 all month. Enjoy the music.

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The Wilderness – Something Else! review

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Another very generous review. If you haven’t bought it yet….heck, you should. Also make sure you check out the upcoming tour dates.

This is an album for people who still think Trinity Sessions stands as the Cowboy Junkies’ best recording, but also for those who want to hear how that sound has expanded and matured over the years.

Arriving, as it does, as the final chapter in a stirringly ambitious four-part opus called The Nomad Series, The Wilderness had a difficult task in tying everything together, much less matching that seminal 1988 breakthrough. Yet, this new project succeeds with a confident grace — deftly blending both the delicate folk stylings that helped give Trinity such meaning and substance (“Damaged from the Start,” songwriter Michael Timmons’ devastatingly frank “Unanswered Letter”) with the itchier, more rock-inflected attitude (“The Confession of Georgie E,” “Fuck I Hate The Cold”) that propelled last year’s psychedelic-blues adventure Sing My Meadow.
That makes The Wilderness, which completes a sprinting 18-month period of creative outbursts, both a fitting denouement and something of a career valedictory. Moving, as the Cowboy Junkies did, from experimental explorations (on 2010?s Renmin Park) to an ardently focused cover project (2011?s Demons, featuring the music of doomed songwriter Vic Chesnutt) to the scronky toughness of Meadow, this group made a lasting argument for itself as one of their era’s most versatile bands.
In other words, something far more than the sum of their haunting, deeply impactful Trinity Sessions, a melancholic combining of country, folk, blues and echoing rock balladry. The Wilderness, due on March 27, certainly references that quietly assertive, deeply atmospheric tone — but it never capitulates to rote imitation. The Cowboy Junkies have grown too much, accomplished so many things, since then.

That’s perhaps best heard on “Damaged from the Start” — this song cycle’s creative and emotional zenith. As it unfolds, Margo Timmons makes a whispered, twilit entreaty: “Let’s just sit here a little bit longer with these bruised and battered hearts. Let’s just say they were damaged from the start.” But they never, ever stopped beating — testament to this group’s abiding faith, and even more abiding ambitions.
It’s taken some time, maybe longer than the Timmons siblings ever would have guessed, but this forthcoming Latent Recordings project is a masterwork success for the Cowboy Junkies — something that both reminds you of, and then finally supersedes, the shimmering decades-old successes of The Trinity Sessions.

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The Wilderness – Phawker review and interview

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Here’s another excellent review of the album. For the full article and a very good interview with Margo please click here. You can pre-order the album today and make sure that you check out our upcoming Tour Dates.

Something about the Cowboy Junkies just seems right lately. Maybe it’s the fact that they’ve been writing and recording music endlessly for the past 25 years. After a quarter of a century, the Junkies have perfected their oddly soothing take on folk-rock, contrasting the ethereal and the distorted. The masterfully focused energy of the just-released The Wilderness is remarkable, considering this is the Junkies’ fourth release in 18 months. The album’s opening track, “Unanswered Letter,” foreshadows everything that will be heard in the 42 and a half minutes to come. Singer Margo Timmins’ hauntingly angelic vocals waltz between a flurry of disorienting soundscapes. Strangely, the track is loosely held together by noteworthy lyricism – a wonderfully constructed illusion – until comfort sets in with an upbeat rhythm almost halfway through the track. “Idle Tales,” driven by Peter Timmins’ slow-marching snare and elevated by a buried angelic hum, belongs on a sleepy-time playlist or the background score of a movie scene where the tragic hero has a life-changing epiphany after a punishing bout of depression. “Fairytale” sounds like the band found the lyrics scribbled on some parchment, almost imperceptibly peeking out from a bookshelf in the remnants of a long-forgotten abbey. Michael Timmins’ guitar work brilliantly accompanies his sister Margo’s gentle lullaby vocals. “The Confessions of George E” is an entrancing narrative, with lyricism reminiscent of early 70s Dylan, one of the band’s favorite songwriters. The instrumentation however, is pure Junkies, while Margo’s delicate vocals gradually summon a sense of urgency. The Wilderness concludes with the upbeat rockin’ track, “Fuck, I Hate The Cold.” I can only imagine how glorious this song must sound live with Michael wailing on his axe and Margo entering powerhouse mode. Phawker got to speak with Margo on one of her free afternoons and it should be noted – she is just as kind, affable, and genuine as her vocals. She talks to us about her family, the band on the road, her favorite albums, and how the hell the Junkies managed to do in 18 months what takes other bands 10 years to do. – TONY ABRAHAM

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The Wilderness – Paste review

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Here is a really nice review from our friends at Paste Magazine. Pre-orders for the album (with heavy discounts) are still available. Also, we’ll be starting the second leg of The Nomad Tour in a couple of weeks.

For the culmination of their four-volume Nomad series, the Cowboy Junkies provide a satisfying set that is aptly reflective of the 18-month journey, and their 25-year career.
The series represents a wellspring of varied material—a collection that provides a lasting primer for the band’s sound and range. Taken together, the four discs display the often-overlooked diversity of the group.
Each release covered a different facet of the band’s personality. You’ve got the experimental one (Vol. 1, Renmin Park), the covers album that consisted entirely of songs by Vic Chesnutt (Vol.2, Demons) and the fuzzy, raucous one (Vol. 3, Sing In My Meadow).
The Wilderness is the quiet, atmospheric one, the anguished introspection of winter to Meadow’s joyous ramble of spring. Not death exactly, but a definitive ending. Plans are underway for the four discs to soon be released as a box set, with a bonus disc and companion book published by Enrique Martinez Celaya, whose paintings inspired the series and served as the cover art for each release.
The Wilderness also merges those other facets explored in the previous installments. But this is the Cowboy Junkies in their comfort zone, doing what they do best. That’s taking Michael Timmins’ carefully crafted songs and breathing life into their nooks and crannies with lush instrumentation and haunting, evocative vocals by his sister Margo.
The album starts with a sonic wash of strings and reverb—an ethereal incantation that transplants you into a different world. Ten songs later, you’re plucked right back out with a jaunty little number that tells you exactly who your tour guide has been. In the middle, there’s shrewd scrutiny on nearly every track.
Whether it’s skewering religious doctrine (“Idle Tales”), delving into a doomed relationship (“Damaged From The Start”) or pondering a suicide (“Unanswered Letter”) Timmins’ songs on The Wilderness are biting. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom. There is beauty in the grace of stillness in “Angels In The Wilderness.” There is a swooping mischief in “The Confession of Georgie E.” And there’s a hell of a groove on the upbeat, sly album-closer, “Fuck I Hate The Cold.”
The Cowboy Junkies may never step out of the shadow of their seminal Trinity Sessions” recording, but there’s no reason the ambitious opus of the Nomad series couldn’t otherwise serve as their masterwork. It’s a sweeping epic that touches on the full range of their prowess. The series is all that they are—accomplished, graceful, thoughtful and poignant. And The Wilderness is its fitting conclusion.

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The Wilderness (volume 4) – Demons

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Take a bit of Nebraska; a bit of Badlands; sprinkle in a couple of characters from The Caution Horses. Mix it together with my orange Resolectric and whisk in a fading Fall evening by Lake Ontario. And then pour it all into the mold formed by the attempted hard-wiring of a Catholic upbringing…and, voila…..Demons:

I was taught that there are
demons out there
so that’s what I believe.
You take away my demons
you take away my peace.

Broke my leg
at the age of twelve
couldn’t kneel beside the bed.
Learnt the lesson of habit
the prayers I left for dead.

Met him in
a corner booth
the jukebox at his side.
He took away all my quarters
he took me for a ride.

I saw his eyes
when the fires on
I never want that blaze to die.
If you take away the burning embers
you take away the burning sky.

If I could switch it
all around
I’d make you my very first kiss.
I’d take away the mystery
just to see what I missed.

I was taught that there are
demons out there
so that’s what I believe.

Previous blogs about the making of The Wilderness, Angels in The Wilderness, Fairytale, Unanswered Letter, We Are The Selfish Ones.
 

We will be having a listening party for The Wilderness on the site on February 23rd (which is the day that we will also start pre-orders for the album). Stop by and give the album a listen.

The Nomad Tour begins on February 23rd. The first leg brings us through the North East USA: Ithaca, West Long Branch, Providence, Ridgefield, Annapolis, Alexandria, Norfolk, Charlottesville, Charleston, Harrisburg, Boston, Philadelphia, West Hampton Beach.

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The Wilderness (volume 4) – We Are The Selfish Ones

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

When I write I need seclusion: somewhere to sit and stare and think and mutter to myself and plink away on my guitar. I often rely on the kindness of strangers (or family and friends) and borrow their unused rural retreats, where I set up for a week at a time and get lost in myself. It’s a completely egocentric, selfish way to spend ones time…and I love it. I think it’s my favourite part of an album project: the week starts with an empty page and six tuned strings and ends up with a song, alchemy at its finest. One of the locations where I wrote a lot of the songs for The Wilderness was a small cottage in Presqu’ile Park, set on the shore of Lake Ontario about two hours east of Toronto. We Are The Selfish Ones is, in some ways, a song about the process of creating, it’s about sitting and reflecting, it’s a nod to those of us lucky enough to make a living reflecting our inner most thoughts back at the world. Here is my song-writing demo for the song…I ended up adding another verse right before Margo sang the version that ended up on The Wilderness.

He sits alone in his perfect shack
the lake beside him freezing
the sun no longer shining
much past four o’clock.

We are the selfish ones
We are the lucky ones
We are the needed ones

She falls asleep, the book on her lap,
“all things change to something new,
something strange.”

We are the selfish ones
We are the lucky ones
We are the needed ones

We walk along with my hand on your back,
the days behind receding
forward to a day when all we love will pass.

We are the selfish ones
We are the lucky ones
We are the needed ones

He sits alone in his perfect shack
the lake beside him freezing
the sun no longer shining
much past four o’clock.

Previous blogs about the making of The Wilderness, Angels in The Wilderness, Fairytale, Unanswered Letter.
 

We will be having a listening party for The Wilderness on the site on February 23rd (which is the day that we will also start pre-orders for the album). Stop by and give the album a listen.

The Nomad Tour begins on February 23rd. The first leg brings us through the North East USA: Ithaca, West Long Branch, Providence, Ridgefield, Annapolis, Alexandria, Norfolk, Charlottesville, Charleston, Harrisburg, Boston, Philadelphia, West Hampton Beach.

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Win Tickets to an upcoming show

Monday, January 30th, 2012

We have started a contest on Facebook in which you can win two tickets to an upcoming show of your choice by simply entering your email. You need to be a Facebook member in order to enter. Just go to the Cowboy Junkies page on Facebook and click on the “Nomad Tour 2012 Tour” tab on the left hand side of the page. Good luck and we hope to see you soon.

Also, we will be starting pre-orders for The Wilderness on February 23rd. In celebration of releasing the final volume of the series we will be having a one day listening party. We will posting the album here on the 23rd, so stop on by for an hour and take a listen.

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The Wilderness (volume 4) – Unanswered Letter

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Last Spring a long time friend of the band, John Bottomley, a fellow musician, died unexpectedly (as they euphemistically say in the obituaries these days). John had been living on Vancouver Island for many years. He had fallen in love with the mountains, the rivers and the trees, but, I guess, had fallen out of love with life. At his funeral his mother lamented the fact that John had settled out west, if only he had been living closer to home, back in Ontario, closer to his family and friends, closer to his roots, if only….
Unanswered Letter was the last song that I wrote for The Wilderness and the last song that I wrote for The Nomad Series. It was a few days after John’s funeral and I headed up to Margo’s farm to try and finish off a few songs: a beautiful spring weekend, with all of the streams and rivers roaring and the spring migration gathering steam (not unlike the weekend weather that had inspired the song Good Friday fifteen years earlier). As I sat beside the river that flows across Margo’s property I thought about John and tried to imagine a state of mind in which even the chatter of a returning red-wing blackbird, a harbinger in these parts of warmer, brighter, easier days to come, could be interpreted as a mocking, insulting cry, “I am home and you are not”.

After Pete, Al, Margo and I had worked up a bedtrack for the song I sent it out to Joby Baker in Victoria, to see where his imagination and talent would take the song. Joby had worked with John on his last album, but I didn’t tell Joby what or who the song was about. What I got back was completely unexpected; an eerie, haunted backing track of bowed bass and ghostly vocals. What was most unexpected was that the song now sounded like a John Bottomley song….the mystery of the creative process: it keeps some of us going, until it doesn’t.
Here is the demo that I wrote and recorded that beautiful Spring day:

Her heart torn open
and left like an unanswered letter.

Words were not spoken
just left in a spidery scrawl.

Twisted and gutted,
the last of the smoke in the air.

She gets up to leave
and idly fixes her hair.

Words from home, words from home.
What we miss are words from home.

I lost my heart
I left it alongside the river.

That blackbird clucking
songs he knows nothing about.

That bird returning
to a home that makes him sing out.

Words from home, words from home.
What we need are words from home.

We will be having a listening party for The Wilderness on the site on February 23rd (which is the day that we will also start pre-orders for the album). Stop by and give the album a listen.

The Nomad Tour begins on February 23rd. The first leg brings us through the North East USA: Ithaca, West Long Branch, Providence, Ridgefield, Annapolis, Alexandria, Norfolk, Charlottesville, Charleston, Harrisburg, Boston, Philadelphia, West Hampton Beach.

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