Cowboy Junkies Demons: A Tribute To Vic Chesnutt

Cowboy Junkies Demons: A Tribute To Vic Chesnutt
When Vic Chesnutt took his life just over a year ago, the sadness brought on by the loss of one of America's great singer-songwriters was compounded by the revelation that a lack of health insurance was partly to blame. Yet Chesnutt never asked for sympathy ― he was a quadriplegic for over half his life. His artistic gifts were apparent in songs that built upon darkly humorous Southern Gothic literary traditions, struggles between good and evil, and man and nature. As Cowboy Junkies' Michael Timmins explains in the liner notes to this second instalment of the group's "Nomad Series," a joint collaboration was in the works at the time of Chesnutt's death, leaving Demons upon first listen as a bittersweet glimpse of what might have been. Still, few bands other than Cowboy Junkies possess the sensitivity required to do justice to Chesnutt's music, and Demons is essentially the wake that any Chesnutt fan wishes they could have attended. From the majestic version of "Wrong Piano" that kicks off the album, Margo Timmins' interpretive gifts are at their peak, and the band have rarely sounded looser. Moreover, their rendition of the heartbreaking "Square Room" exudes a dignity that all of Chesnutt's work possessed, even when he was at his most despondent. It's sometimes difficult to grasp what possesses artists to make tribute albums, but Demons is a tribute in the truest sense: an acknowledgment of gratitude and admiration. (Latent)