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Despite its title, the new Cowboy Junkies album, At the End of Paths Taken, is as much about new beginnings as it is about endings. It is also about human connections, the struggle to sustain those connections over time, and the complexities that can arise even when those connections are maintained. It is, in other words, a classic Cowboy Junkies album - a suite of smart, richly textured songs that value subtlety over broad, generic strokes, songs that prize insight and casual revelations over easily digestible clichÃ©s. Family lies at the heart of the album's eleven songs, and, of course, that is appropriate, too. Three of the band's members - singer Margo Timmins; songwriter, producer and guitarist Michael Timmins; and drummer Peter Timmins - are siblings, and bassist Alan Anton has been a member since the group formed in Toronto in 1985. Few bands have lasted nearly as long with their original line-up intact, and fewer still have created as consistently satisfying a body of work.
The Cowboy Junkies' gothic Americana takes a psychedelic hue on At the End of Paths Taken, replete with Beatlesque string sections and snarling, distorted guitar leads. It's an often epic album, exemplified by the opening track, "Brand New World," which starts off like a lament and ends with a triumph of surging strings. Atop it all sits singer Margo Timmins. She's the lover everyone wants, a voice that is at once world-weary and inviting, domineering and seductive. She's the perfect vehicle for writer and brother Michael Timmins--especially on an album that deals with adult themes--because if nothing else, Margo sounds like an adult, a woman who has experienced the world and life and things that maybe we shouldn't talk about. A mother's frustration never sounded as ominous and threatening as on "Cutting Board Blues." Sitting astride a buzzsaw guitar riff and a groove of doom, she talks about walking away from it all, leaving her cutting board behind. Many of the themes concern adulthood and children with a sense of despair about the world those children are entering on songs like "My Little Basquiat." There are moments of light and hope on At the End of Paths Taken, but overall it is a deliriously dark and brooding album. --John Diliberto
The CD works and it showed up quickly. The group sounded great. (that's it) if I keep getting pestered for more words, I'll stop reviewing.Published on March 23, 2013 by Ron Hess
it use to be i would look forward to a new cowboy junkies album and when ever i would buy it i was not disappointed. unfortunately i think those days are gone. Read morePublished on March 19, 2013 by joshua e.
Um, a little weird. Not really sure how to take this album as I love the Cowboy Junkies. This one is almost like someone stopped taking their medicine and went partially deaf.Published on March 12, 2013 by Tony the Pony
Just got Cowboy Junkies latest album "At The End Of Paths Taken". I listened to it a couple of times before going on line to post my comments. Read morePublished on January 10, 2012 by Janet Chandler
This music builds a magical space wherever it is played.
No need to blast this CD. Let it soak in at a natural volume.
Is it just me, or do the Cowboy Junkies get better with age ? I never tire of listening. Buying this cd on the fly,so to speak, I am not disapointed. Read morePublished on June 2, 2009 by Karen E. Kane
Amazon said it best. How this band could remain so under appreciated for so long is almost criminal. This CD is a must have just for Cutting Board Blues alone. Read morePublished on January 6, 2009 by Monchichipox
Ever since I purchased this album about eight months ago, it has remained in my constant rotation. Truly a classic "concept album" in every sense of the word in regards to family,... Read morePublished on May 1, 2008 by V. J. Thompson