Monday, February 4, 2008

Cowboy Junkies - Trinity Revisited (buy this, it's purdy)

Since its 1988 release, not much off The Trinity Session has been attended to in the mainstream, save for its cover of the Velvet Underground's “Sweet Jane.” Real shame, too – the record on the whole was a gorgeous collection, a slow and bluesy group of songs that captured the essence of old-fashioned country and folk but masked tradition under Margo Timmins' deep, sultry croon for an update that would hold up even decades later.

Nearly twenty years post-Trinity, the group would return to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto to – as they put it – celebrate but not necessarily recreate the entirety of The Trinity Session. A double-disc set that includes a DVD with both the CD's live performance and an additional documentary on the new recording session, Trinity Revisited shows us a gracefully aged group.

Pierre and Francois Lamoureux's documentary is admittedly a bit bland and contains too much setup footage; additionally, as the band sits about the round table reminiscing over wine, few unexpected facts arise, save for its revealing that the original album had been recorded for under $1000 and despite success churned out little pay for the group. Or that the record had been recorded in one take, the band surrounding only a single mic.

It is, however, beautifully filmed, with dim lighting and slow, easy camera movement that mimics the format of MTV Unplugged or VH1 Storytellers. And its best moments lie in the awkward footage of the album's guests – we see a very dull Natalie Merchant looking stiff and uncomfortable, Vic Chesnutt adding an eerily nervous energy to “Blue Moon Revisited,” and Ryan Adams reading a Star magazine during Chesnutt's rehearsal only to later dork out over the addition of a new guitar vibrato.

But it is, of course, these odd guest appearances that keep Trinity Revisited from becoming an exact replica of The Trinity Session, and though they prevent the new record from being as simultaneously sexy and haunting as the original, this anniversary celebration demonstrates the Junkies' prior ability to form a perfectly timeless album, and if anything will encourage others to discover or revisit a recent classic.

Cowboy Junkies - Misguided Angel (2008)
Pre-order Trinity Revisited
Purchase The Trinity Session

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