Canadian country/blues/folk band Cowboy Junkies certainly haven’t rested on their laurels in light of their twenty-fifth year on the go, with forthcoming record The Wilderness concluding the epic four album saga “The Nomad Series”. Not only is the collection’s release marked by an 18-month period and a full 2012 U.S tour, but the Torontians also have plans for a book inspired by the collaboration, set to be released as part of the box set in April. Motivated by Cuban-American artist, Enrique Marinez Celaya’s “Nomad” paintings, frontwoman Margo Timmins in a press release explained that the main reason behind the elaborate project was that “as we steam through our twenty-fifth year, we feel that we have the energy and inspiration to pull it off!”
Having not had much success outside of Canada since their famed second album, The Trinity Sessions I can imagine that, with such plans for books and tours, the Cowboy Junkies are expecting success with this record. And why shouldn’t they? The overall tone of the album is delicate and introspective, with the band’s country roots really shining out in tracks such as the sombre ‘Unanswered Letter’ and the more upbeat closer, ‘Fuck, I Hate the Cold’.
Although I couldn’t see the claimed resemblance to Bon Iver in musical stylings, the way in which the Cowboy Junkies form the lyrics to their songs was something I could see comparable to the indie folk workings of Justin Vernon, in that the Cowboys ooze passion and conviction in their lyrics in a very chilled and wistful way, swelling intermittently on tracks such as ‘The Confession of Georgie E.’ and ‘Fairytale. ‘I Let Him In’ was a track that crept up on me, with Timmins’ lilting vocals breaking like waves as the track developed. ‘Damaged from the Start’ was another track that stood out for me, simply for the poignant lines “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.”
Taking ‘The Wilderness’ independent of the whole Nomad project, I would describe it as a whimsical and entrancing record, which is still somehow grounded by the subject matter in contains. While I don’t know if it will necessarily surpass “The Trinity Sessions” in popularity for old fans, I feel that coming on the scene as a new fan, this record is the kind of record that you can put on with a glass of wine and air your issues to.
You can stream The Wilderness over on the Paste Magazine website right now.