August 26, 2010

Trinity Revisited, Cowboy Junkies.

It been a while since we wrote about music. No, we did not forget about the music! How can we? We need the music to listen to our hifi, and our hifi helps by reproducing music the we only way we can enjoy, a.k.a. in hi-fidelity!

I recently got this on LP, it was expensive, but a worth while musical experience for any audiophile or music lover with a worthy high end system. I've never heard Cowboy Junkies music prior to this, but I knew they were great musicians. It was the sort of a musical experiment purchase, a small gamble if you wish and this time, I got the Russian Roulette on my side(not always the case!).

By the way, the Cowby Junkies are siblings Margo, Micheal & Peter Timmins, plus friend Alan Anton. For this Trinity Revisited project, they are joined by guest Ryan Adams, Jeff Bird, Vic Chestnutt and lastly Natalie Merchant, who takes center stage on most tracks.

I searched the www for more info on this double gate fold 2LP release for more information and got some. This is apparently, a 20th Anniversary tribute album to the original sessions, which was released in 1988. The original recording was done in a church that historically dates back to the 1800s! That same church acoustics plays a big role to the end result of this recording. Like I said, I've never heard the original 1988 release, so I got nothing to compare with, but I really liked what I heard on this 20th Anniversary tribute album. I thought it deserves our musical attention.

Cowboy Junkies are basically blues, folk, country and rock/pop influences all rolled in to one. The arrangement is mostly sparse but intense. This time the Cowboy Junkies brought in some friends to help them on the session. The songs are mostly heartfelt and bitter sweet in presentation.

Some of my favourite cuts include:
1) Misguided Angel
2) I'm So Lonesome, I Could Cry
3) 200 More Miles
4) Sweet Jane
5) Postcard Blues
6) Walking After Midnight

The single miked recording is excellent! The church acoustically sets the mood of the music. There's a charm when recordings in churches are well executed. The bass guitar is solid and strong, which sets the foundation of the music. The drums are captured in the back of the stage, and I especially liked that the kick drums are still solid and could be felt(something I doubt if one plays with mini monitors or bookshelf speakers though), yet the cymbals and high hats are clearly define in space, time and presence. There's an airy quality around the instruments as we hear the space and church ambiance. The best part is the vocals! They appear to float eerily, and pop out of a dark sound stage in convincing 3D fashion. On the track Misguided Angel, when Margo, female vocal with a deep voice, located on the left of center, slightly set back in to the sound stage, harmonise with guest Natalie Merchant, who is located in the center of the sound stage on a more forward plane for duet, I got goose bumps all over, because the track's mood is so..... dark, the 3D vocal floating sensation so..... haunting(hey!, it's the seventh month of Chinese calendar year after all, for Casper and friends are out to play, boo..... hoo......), I've never quite felt like this before! On a high end system, the flaws of the recording process, like wiring/amp buzz, mike humming and some off stage chatter is bared for all to hear, but that's just the very qualities, that makes this recording so real and life like sounding! I am literally transported to the Holy Trinity Church, which is the venue of this recording.

Guess what? I played and got all these from the Clearaudio Concept entry level turn table with the packaged MM cartridge only! I originally wanted to use this recording as a high light for the turn table review, but felt that would be doing this album injustice. I think that a musical recording this good demands our undivided attention. And I am very sure once you start playing this 2LP set, it will get yours too! It certainly got mine.


Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

I wonder if the CD version is just as good?

Big E said...


I don't know, but the recording quality is certainly good. I would probably wonder how close the CD can get to the LP, in terms of sound quality?

One thing is for sure though, I think you'll like the music.

kiarch said...

Original Trinity Session was uniquely special due to not entirely because of the songs, neither it is entirely due to the recording, it is largely due to the noise from building works happened outside of the Trinity Church during the recording.

Audiophile go ga-ga over the noisy building works which is audible at the distant background.

When this TS Revisit was released, audiophile asked one common question, whether the building works was there as well. When they discovered that there is no building works in the Revisit, they all went quiet... Sometimes I wonder whether we listen to music or the noise...

Big E said...


Thanks for the sobering info on the original Trinity sessions.

It brings to question the audiophile pririoties?

As for me, I just enjoyed the music. That's why I mentioned this Re-visit session here.

The Wise One said...


HS said...

Margo Timmins is a she. Beautiful voice!

Big E said...


Thanks for pointing that out. And I had thought all this while Margo is a weird name for a guy?