Cowboy Junkies

Long Journey Home: Live in Liverpool | Zoë
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  December 4, 2006
3.5 3.5 Stars
Regardless of whether you think of this Canadian outfit as pretentious somnambulists or artful rock poets, they’ve carved out a grass-roots career since bursting onto alt-rock radio with a barbiturate cover of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” in 1988. Twenty years on, they haven’t changed much, relying on the blend of Margo Timmins’s hushed clarion vocals and her brother Michael’s textural arrangements, which glide between relaxed minimalism and blaring Neil Young–like maximum guitar. Although this show was recorded two years ago, the Junkies plumbed their earlier catalogue for much of its material, and even earlier catalogues — those of Reed, Young, and Robert Johnson, whose murderous “32-20 Blues” kicks off the performance with a creepy rhythmic grind and a dark exploratory guitar improvisation. Both Timminses are exceptional on the 11-song CD: Margo’s dynamics tweak each tune’s emotional palette, and Michael’s sustained, droning feedback and backwards guitar effects keep even basic chord structures unpredictable. The set includes a well-shot DVD of the entire 18-song concert plus bonus backstage and soundcheck footage and interviews with the Timminses.
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