Years ago, a charming fellow named Michael Timmins called from Toronto about this EP his band, the Cowboy Junkies, had self-released called The Trinity Sessions. When he followed up to ask what I thought, and my answer was "very good, liked it but didn't knock my dick in the dirt," he remained just as charming (favorable point one). Years later, I had to escape to the lobby at a Junkies show lest my nodding mark me as some other kind of junkie. But they were nonetheless superb (point two). They loved Townes Van Zandt while he was still with us (three) and their contribution to the Alejandro Escovedo Por Vida tribute CD, "Don't Need You," was sweet relief indeed (four). The Junkster's latest release, 21st Century Blues, is mesmeric agitprop for peace in our times with songs by Dylan, U2, Springsteen and Fab Two Lennon and Harrison, as well as two numbers by that lovely Timmins fellow that measure up to the company (five). The character and distinctiveness of what this band has created--music that's a four-shots-of-scotch buzz in a late night café with the swirling cigarette smoke of Margo Timmins' voice wafting in the air--bears the stamp of greatness and (six) soul-deep humanity. It still merits my attention--and yours too. Nashville-based Texpatriates Milton Mapes provide their snap, crackle and roots rock as a piquant prelude.
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