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Reviews: Cowboy Junkies: Open

Reviews: 4

Review by JW January 27, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Don't you have the experience that discs that sound 'interesting' but not entirely convincing on first listen end up being long term companions? I have to admit I had never heard of the Cowboy Junkies, so I have SACD to thank for this personal 'discovery'. Fame is relative. What attracted me initially was the range of instruments used on this SACD: vocals, guitar, drum, bass, harmonica, mandolin, electric mandolin, 8 string bass, percussion, organ, piano and wurlitzer. That in combination with a name like Cowboy Junkies was, well, interesting. The opener is an ethereal song played against a backdrop of distorted guitar wafting over the soundscape. There is some very nice deep bass to be heard here as well. And whether or not you like the music, the recording quality is excellent in my view. This first song won't cheer you up as it's pretty dark, with even darker lyrics (parental guidance advised here :-), but I like the intricacy of the picture that is painted here. Sometimes they sound like Pink Floyd mixed in with Enya. There is some fairly heavy guitar work to be heard on this disc. Margo Timmins' clear but velvet lead vocals interact very nicely with what sounds to me like an overdriven Gibson. The music is sometimes dense, but not to the effect drowning out melody altogether and they have had the good taste to alternate tempi quit a bit. This makes the songs more accessible. The electric mandolin is another interesting touch, introducing clarity and nice solo work underpinning the heavy guitar riffs. This disc is 'moody' and at times even 'dreamy' and above I did not use the word 'soundscape' by accident. This is not an 'easy' disc, but therein lies its appeal. The CJ's paint a picture with their songs that is deep, layered and full of elements that continue to invite exploration.

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Review by Replevin April 25, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have "The Trinity Sessions" so I was familiar with the Cowboy Junkies before picking up this Rounder disc. It sounds like a cliche to describe this music as "moody" and Margo Timmins' voice as "haunting," but what else can you say? The disc is filled with brooding and sometimes dark folk/rock songs that sometimes have a harder edge such as on "Upon Still Waters" or "Dark Hole Again." Yes, the album is so dark that they even have songs with "dark" in the title! "We are dark, haunting, moody music makers!" OK, sorry. The sonics are another matter, however. I have listened to this disc on different systems and with headphones and am consistently disappointed with the sonics (especially since the other Rounder discs are outstanding in this regard). To me, the sonics sound like mediocre redbook and have a congested glare especially in the upper registers. All in all, good music, average sonics.

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Review by The Rang July 21, 2007 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have to agree with replevin on this one.

Music is OK but you need to be in the right mood. It's very dark and brooding with references to water in almost every song.

Sonics are awful....huge disappointment. They will severely limit how often this disc gets played in my home.

I'm a big junkies fan but this one is a tough listen

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Review by VinnieC May 16, 2013
Performance:   Sonics:
I like this album, a big change from their erly music, good on them for moving on to something new, as someones said in another review, you have to be in the mood but i fine i have to be in the mood for all of the Cowboy Junkies albums so no change here, and as for the sonics i think it sound good, not brilliand but definitaly not bad, maybe depends on what equipment its being played on ?.

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