To say that the Cowboy Junkies’ new record, Open, washes over you is a bit of an understatement. It’s more of a riptide, really. If you let yourself get pulled in, you’re underwater till they’re good and ready to let you up.
The Timmins family rides the unconscious psychological current, conjuring disturbed back-basin washes of emotion — Margo insinuating looking-glass, deep-woods dark imagery and Michael laying on swirls and waves of feedback and a general sonic murk that, though they might seem innocuous at first glance, refuse to let go your gaze.
Let’s face it, when you have titles such as “Dragging Hooks (River Song Trilogy: Part III”) and “Upon Still Waters,” this kind of semitortured metaphor is inevitable. But with the Cowboy Junkies, it’s totally appropriate too. They’ve always been a reflection of rainy-day people, broken hearts, an autumn chill and the passage of time reflected upon with clarity and more than a modicum of subtle, slightly rockish beauty. Stark? Yes. Haunted? Yup. Does Margo Timmins make you think that Alanis, Paula Cole and the rest of the Jenny-come-latelies have all learned a bit at her writerly feet? You betcha. And she still leaves ’em on the banks wondering while she drifts away, afloat on the intimate, delicate, raw passages of brother Michael’s languorous frettery.
Sure, the Junkies stray sometimes from tight, artful storytelling into summer-shed-show wanking turf, but these moments are thankfully few. Deep waters sometimes aren’t still. Sometimes they just look like they are till you jump in.
The Cowboy Junkies perform July 6 at Royal Oak Theatre.
E-mail Chris Handyside at email@example.com.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.