ALTHOUGH still best known in the UK for The Trinity Session, an album that is 25 years old, Cowboy Junkies have far from rested on comfortable old laurels, emerging from a fertile two years of recording activity with the four new albums which make up the Nomad Series.
Cowboy Junkies / John Murray
Now all they have to do is tour them, and the vast exhibition hall of Kelvingrove Art Gallery seemed like an appropriately resonant choice of space for a band who made their name recording in a church.There was a meditative though self-absorbed qualityto their moodier material, with Michael Timmins’ sultry noodling and his sister Margo’s soothing, unhurried vocals contributing to the atmospheric reverie, but both their heavier blues grooves and the more intimate country songs, including a couple of Vic Chesnutt covers, suffered from boomy acoustics.Stripping away the rhythm section helped considerably, giving the delicate Chinese inflections of Renmin Park their proper place, while their much-loved cover of Sweet Jane simmered seductively.
Opening act John Murry’s set began with a proviso “I am not intoxicated”. Murry has indulged in his fair share of substances over the years, documenting his struggles in dark shades of Americana, but the battle here was again with the acoustics of this opulent space which muddied both music and lyrics, and appeared to affect his band’s timing on occasion.
What could reasonably be discerned from this sonic mess was that his style of brooding rock confessional would be better suited to a club venue.