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Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session (1988)

April 10, 2015

[Album 391/1001]

Long time, no blog!

Must be report card season.

At midterms/finals, I’m grateful for albums like The Trinity Session: albums that provide an ideal soundtrack for marking.

I’m also appreciative when I can find a copy for $2.99*, just a slight markdown from its once-upon-a-time price shown below!



Word association time.

Canadian Female Singer. Timmins. ___________

I’d wager most (myself included) would immediately jump to the pride of Timmins, Ontario, Shania Twain.

In this case, I was looking for Margo Timmins, lead singer of Cowboy Junkies.

Much like the current iteration of Van Halen, 3/4 of the band shares the same surname (with bassist Alan Alton representing the non-Timmins 1/4).Cowboy_Junkies-The_Trinity_Session_(album_cover)

Make no mistake, Alan & the Timmins brothers perform admirably here.

There’s little doubt however that the album belongs to its setting and its singer.

Recorded around a single microphone, primarily in a single day at The Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto**, the songs are divinely under-produced.  Though the church is reasonably close to the Skydome, the songs couldn’t be further from a Shania Twain &/or Van Halen built-for-stadiums sound.

And that was pretty clear from the outset: Margo’s haunting, a capella vocal on the album-opening Mining for Gold set the ethereal tone and the rest flowed gently from there.


*Like my friend Aaron at the KMA noted recently, Value Village can be a Goldmine for used CDs in Ontario.  Or to borrow a gold Blue Rodeo tune, a Diamond mine.
**Alternatively, as Aaron & my fellow Canadian blogging colleagues call it, Taranna!

From → 1980s

  1. Incredible album. Incredible for its creation as much as the music. To record an album this way in the 80s and have it be successful…it’s never heard of! Proud that it’s a Canadian band!

    • I hadn’t thought about that contrast with the typical bigger=better 80s music philosophy, that makes it all the more impressive.
      I’m planning on checking out the church on my next trip to T.O!

      • Yeah make sure you do! You could even post a complimentary photo blog of it.

      • This may be a great idea for a post – some sort of photo essay of Ontario landmarks referenced in songs/albums (like Trinity). The ‘high school’s dead & stark’ from Wheat Kings is KCVI in Kingston, that might be a convenient place to start!

  2. I totally would have guessed Margo. (Because! I! Don’t! Have! Much! Time! For! Shania! And! All! Her! Exclamation! Points!)

    And here’s me well on record as the hugest fan of this Trinity record. But I typed this into the Search on KMA and it didn’t come up – have iI not reviewed this yet? I was really sure I had. Hm. Well if not, that’s an OVERSIIIIGHT!!!

    I remember a big talk with J. about this one, that must’ve been on his site. It’s just solid gold. Oh man.

    Every time I see that church I go “ooooooooo that’s where…” and my wife just nods wearily and says she knows that already… 🙂

    You would also do well to seek out the Anniversary re-release. It’s high on my Want list when I go to the city in May.

    • I look forward to your review when that oversight is rectified – perhaps with a photo of Trinity from your annual Taranna trek!

      • I must’ve written my review of it 1000 times in my head, I’m amazed it isn’t there. I’ll have to dig deeper, maybe it’s under some other post or something. I do that sometimes.

        If not, I will have to spin it again (aw shucks) and write it up. Love love love this record.

        But yeah, I’ll be back to Taranna eventually. Never know what I’ll do.

  3. That’s a high Timmins ratio right there.

  4. Also, $2.99! Nice score!

    • I’ve been quite please with the return on investment!

      • Haha you knew that was a sureshot, but that one is a total steal. It’s worth waaaaaaaay more than $3!

        Was it on the 1001 list? It totally should be, if it’s not!

  5. Me being a Metal Boy back than could even acknowledge how many video spins Sweet Jane got on Muchmusic! Cool throwback….

  6. Really pleased to see this on on the 1001. Incredible album. one that’s stuck with me. Aaron and I have definitely discussed this when I picked up the record not so long ago … and possibly when he posted something else about the Cowboy Junkies. Marvellous stuff.

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  1. 1988 | 1001albumsin10years

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