I’m not sure why I generally pass over new releases by the Cowboy Junkies, since their classic Black-Eyed Man is one of my all-time favorites, the one that I always bring with me on cross-country drives. When all else fails, I can rely on Margo Timmins’ dreamy, sultry vocals to get me through a particularly land-locked, flat-terrained southern or eastern stretch. As someone on Rdiorecently expressed, “Whenever I hear Margo Timmins’ voice, I wonder why I ever listen to anything else.”
The first time I heard the band’s newest release, Renmin Park, I passed it over much more quickly than usual. The album skips bizarrely from what I can only call East Asian-inspired ambient psych-rock (shoot me now) to the southern bluesy alt-country (since I’m obviously not dead yet, you can try again) many of us associate with the Junkies. And there are other genres mixed in. The album is apparently a tribute to the three months Michael Timmins & family spent in China a couple of years ago.
Yet as with their other albums, this one’s a slow burn. And it is now etched into both my Itunes library and Seagate drive’s memories. The album is, quite simply, amazing. If you passed over it the first time, as I did, I recommend a second and third go-round.
I downloaded the album so that I could post my favorite song here (other bloggers seem to be sticking to the two catchiest tunes, “Cicadas” and “Stranger Here,” good tunes, as well). I’m also posting a live version of “Murder in the Trailer Park,” my heavy-hearted favorite from Black-Eyed Man. I think this album (along with Chris Cooper in Lone Star, which I have posted about before) single-handedly readied me for my hopefully-not-quite-yet mid-life excursion into the realm of classic country.