Author: Dan_S
• Tuesday, November 04th, 2008

It’s hard to believe its been almost 12 years since Canada’s Cowboy Junkies last visited Ithaca. Well the long wait is over as they return for one night only on Thursday, February 5th at the State Theatre. See also: dansmallspresents.com

Reserved seating tickets will be $28.00 plus theatre restoration fee. A limited number of gold circle seating will be available for $35.00 plus restoration. Tickets will go on sale Friday, November 7th at 10am at the State Theatre Box Office, 105 West State Street in Ithaca, online at stateofithaca.com or by calling 800.919.6272.

The Toronto quartet have made a career out of its soft-focus sound, initially emphasizing the drowsily pretty vocals of Margo Timmins, with brother Michael Timmins’ droning guitar leads gradually assuming a bigger role. They’ve maximized that rather limited approach by evincing exquisite taste, particularly on the covers-heavy early albums, and by playing off the tension between Margo’s lullaby voice and the frequently dire imagery of Michael’s lyrics. Their breakthrough came with “The Trinity Sessions,” recorded through only one microphone at the Trinity Church in Toronto. That was 20 years ago…

“To celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Trinity Session, we decided to head back to Toronto’s Trinity Church with the idea of revisiting the album from the perspective of twenty years’ experience,” reflects Cowboy Junkies guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins. “We enlisted a few musicians for whom The Trinity Session had some personal and professional resonance, and whose individual work resonates with us.” Joined by Ryan Adams, Vic Chesnutt, Natalie Merchant, and longtime cohort Jeff Bird, Cowboy Junkies dedicated themselves to a fresh exploration of The Trinity Session’s songs - as spontaneous and open-ended as the original. “The idea was to cobble together a loose band sound with just a few hours of rehearsal, and a one day recording schedule,” Timmins continues, “much in the same way we created the original recording. We came, we played, and the church, once again, did the rest.”

In November of 1987, the young and road-worn Cowboy Junkies gathered there and, around one microphone in the course of a few quiet hours, recorded the epochal set of songs that were released one year later as The Trinity Session. The album not only put the nascent Junkies - composed then and now of siblings Michael, Margo, and Peter Timmins and bassist Alan Anton - on the musical map: it also ushered in a new approach to roots music. Imbued with a bewitching and ominous radiance, The Trinity Session was modest in its means, unpretentious and honest. Drawing from the elemental yearning that underpinned the band’s heroes (from Hank Williams to the Velvet Underground to Robert Johnson), the Junkies fashioned a direct, unmannered sound they then wrapped around Michael’s poetic originals and an insightful selection of outside material. The album has long been heralded as a touchstone for both the Junkies and for a new generation of musicians in the burgeoning alt-country and Americana genres.
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