Cowboy Junkies At The End of Paths Taken

Cowboy JunkiesAt The End of Paths Taken
The Cowboy Junkies are already planning to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough The Trinity Session this September with a re-recording featuring guests, which will surely overshadow this first collection of original material since 2004’s One Soul Now. This is unfortunate since, while the band have not totally turned their back on Canada, their profile at home has consistently decreased since their heyday in the early ’90s. What most have been missing is the continuing development of Michael Timmins into someone more than deserving of a place within the hallowed Canadian songwriters pantheon. Although there are few moments on At The End Of Paths Taken that bear resemblance to the raw psych/country/jazz/blues that made the band famous ("Cutting Board Blues” is a notable exception), the album’s overall theme of slowly unravelling family ties has inspired the Timmins clan to craft their most consistently engaging recording since 1996’s Lay It Down. Of course, Margo’s vocals remain the centrepiece of the sound but the addition of strings lends even more melancholy to her tone. Perhaps the Cowboy Junkies went further than anyone could have expected in the wake of The Trinity Session but as old fans will relive those days this fall, listening to At The End Of Paths Taken is the perfect place to start catching up on what they’ve missed in the meantime. (Latent/Fontana North/Universal)