Sunday, March 9, 2008


One of the greatest albums ever is Cowboy Junkies' The Trinity Sessions.  The band recorded it in Trinity Church in Toronto twenty years ago. With one microphone.  You read that right: they just crowded around one microphone and recorded the album like that. I guess sometimes the magic is just there. The magic was there that day in that church.  

The group have done a lot of great albums since then (Miles From Our Home is one of my favorites) but The Trinity Sessions remains their landmark. 

So, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, they returned to Trinity Church to perform the album for an audience, with some friends, including Natalie Merchant (who was fronting 10,000 Maniacs when Trinity came out) and Ryan Adams, who was probably a teenager, if that. The performance was recorded for a live album and DVD called Trinity Revisited. Of course they used more than one microphone this time. I've not yet watched the DVD, but I am enjoying the recording. Of course, you can never top the original, but this project is certainly one to be proud of. 

The period that yielded the original album, twenty years ago, was a cool one. It seemed to be an era where lots of women were releasing great albums, and it didn't matter what they looked like. Not just the Junkies and 10,000 Maniacs, but Tracy Chapman, Aimee Mann was starting her solo career, Lucinda Williams was just getting semi-popular, Victoria Williams, it was a good time for music. Before things started too crass. Trinity Revisited sort of reminds me of that time. Of course, the album is completely timeless, in a way that most rock or pop groups can't begin to approach. 

It's inspiring that the group has been able to keep touring and releasing albums and DVDs outside of the major label system.  I know I've probably mentioned that about a few other groups, but there's something to be said about a group that just needs to notify its fans that a new album is out, or that they're coming to your town, without having to rely on marketing. That's a No Expiration band for you. 

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