August 31, 2004

The Cowboy Junkies

Back in 1989 I was living in a ---- I'll be kind and call it an apartment house. Flophouse would be a more accurate term but it wasn't that bad. We only had one crackhead in residence, and no winos who didn't at least have a job.

Anyway, there was a mid-twenties guy living there named Dan. He was a suicidal depressive, the kind of east coast middle-class rich kid turned down-and-outer that you might expect to find in such a place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was okay; we got along. But, part of his depressiveness symptomized in his affection for the first album released by The Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Sessions. He played that day and night (we still had to use vinyl in those days). Dan must've listened to Trinity 10 times a day for weeks on end.

I'll always remember how he was obsessed with the Hank Williams cover, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. Having heard this record through the wall so many times, my favorite was the cover of Lou Reed's Sweet Jane. But that whole record was sooooo sloooowwwww and letharrrrrrrrrgicccc. Perfect for a depressed person. I wasn't exactly Mr. Happy Go Lucky in those days myself.

Since that time I haven't followed The Cowboy Junkies too closely. I never bought any of their disks. But I've always kind of wanted to see them. Just to see if they could perform as lethargically as they recorded.

This was an appropriate first live music event for our new home of Lawrence, KS. We saw the Junkies Sunday night at The Granada Theater on Massachussetts St. downtown. There were probably 400 people there. Trust me, that is the CJ's in those photos. My new phone cam doesn't work well in the dark and I didn't have the nerve to take the good digicam since it was our first gig at the venue. Next time I will not be so shy.

Great show. Yes they are lethargic. But they are beautiful too. I love Margo Timmins' vocals. She has one of the sweetest voices I've ever heard. But the accordion player made his axe sound like a moog synthesizer sometimes, only much more genuine and so soulful. Strangely I can't find his name anywhere.

They did two Neil Young covers, Helpless and one of the encores was Powderfinger. I really liked hearing them do Lay Me Down which is the Grateful Dead song they recorded for the tribute album Deadicated. The only CJ recording I've ever owned. I'm sure they're sick of doing Sweet Jane and the Hank Williams song, so I understand why they didn't do those. But I would've liked hearing them. And we certainly enjoyed all their original material that I was not familiar with.

Margo said, among other things, how much she appreciated that the audience was willing to be quiet. From reading the tour blog on their website, it sounds like that's a common problem. They refer to "geese," apparently people who would rather speak raucously than listen to the band. I think it's strange that someone would pay the price for a ticket ($20 here, plus service charges) and not want to listen. Even after she appeals for quiet. I look forward to seeing what they say about the Lawrence gig.

Lawrence has adopted the non-smoking ordinance that all the liberal communities seem to be picking up. As a libertarian I do not believe in those laws. However, I must confess that I appreciated not smelling like an overfull ashtray when I got home, and being able to wear the t-shirt I had on again this evening.

We'll be going back to the Granada. Antibalas is performing there September 21.

I sometimes wonder what happened to Dan. After he left the apartment house we heard that he got picked up in San Francisco trying to panhandle donations for some free clinic, only he wasn't giving the clinic the money. The word "loser" comes to mind. But, for all I know he's a bank president now.

Posted by Wayne at August 31, 2004 01:21 AM

Jaro Czerwinec is the accordian player.
He is not an "official" band member.

Posted by: smorris at September 24, 2004 12:42 PM

Thank you for the information. I would assume he records on his own?

Thank you also for leaving a comment that is not spam, that I do not have to delete and block the IP. I am on the verge of turning off my comment system.

Posted by: Wayne at September 24, 2004 01:23 PM

Ooh, and the name is 'Timmins'.

Posted by: smorris at September 24, 2004 02:01 PM

Yes, I believe Jaro (who is a swell cat, BTW) just released his first solo album this year. Jeff Bird, the other 'unofficial' band memeber has a number of recordings. The band as this 4+2 member is my favourite inception.
I spend lots of time on the message board at and didn't see a review for this night. You should post it there. Positive reviews are appreciated there...sometimes there a little hard to come by ;)

Posted by: smorris at September 24, 2004 02:07 PM

Thank you again and I am on my way to I hadn't trolled the forum there. I hope I can just link to the blog post.

Posted by: Wayne at September 24, 2004 02:22 PM

There is a forum called, 'Last Night in.'
I have bumped the relevant night (I hadn't noticed it before).
Yes, you can link to here by clicking the 'url' button, after creating your post.

Your particular review is especially interesting to me due to the 15 year gap in exposure.

Posted by: smorris at September 24, 2004 02:52 PM
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