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3.6 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 15, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

By this stage in the Cowboy Junkies' career, surprises are few and far between and 2001's Open is no different. The dreamy Toronto quartet remains on a slow boil, torn between Margo Timmins's somnambulant singing and brother Michael's ragged bolts of guitar. As usual, nothing sounds rushed and everything progresses at its own pace--gradual. "I Did It All for You," the opening cut, begins with a slash of howling feedback, but even that's muted and reduced to barely a whisper. The sinister "Dragging Hooks" pairs Talk Talk-style atmospherics with grim lyrics about searching a river for a body, while the epic "Dark Hole Again" is about as close to angular funk as the Junkies get. Admittedly, the progress from previous records is minimal, and there's nothing on Open that's particularly shocking or new, but at the very least, Cowboy Junkies are consistent. --Matt Galloway

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I Did It All for you
  2. Dragging Hooks (River Song Trilogy: Part III)
  3. Bread and Wine
  4. Upon Still Waters
  5. Dark Hole Again
  6. Thousand Year Prayer
  7. I'm So Open
  8. Small Swift Birds
  9. Beneath the Gate
  10. Close My Eyes

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 15, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zoe Records
  • ASIN: B00005B8GO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,158 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm reminded of a verse from a Camper Van Beethoven song..."Cowboys on Acid." What becomes obvious when you first listen to the latest album is that the band is less Cowboy and more Junkie nowadays. Less acoustic guitars and more heavily distortion-laded guitars. A bit of a mix of The Doors and Mazzy Star's more psychedelic distorted songs. Fans that began to jump off the bandwagon when "Miles from our Home" was released will probably be left far behind on this album. I don't think the band is planning to turn around and pick you all up...this is a dramatically different turn from the band that started a few albums back...a departure from acoustic folk rock and more towards guitar-oriented rock.
Looks like the band lost a lot of old fans, but in my case, I just love this album. Although I've been a fan since their early bluesy-folk albums like "The Trinity Session" I actually enjoy and appreciate the new direction the band has taken. I loved "Miles from Our Home" and I love the new sound on "Open." The album (especially as a whole) is really outstanding. Perhaps that's because my music tastes range from folk rock to hard rock, and I'm as comfortable listening to The Trinity Session as much as I am to "So Tonight that I May See" by Mazzy Star or "The End" by the Doors.
I wasn't expecting the band to make another folk & blues album. I loved their early work, but I'm a fan enough to follow the band through their careers as they progress and experiment. If you liked the band when they were more mellow, then listen to their old records. I'll follow the band as they go...they will lose a lot of old fans, but are sure to pick up more along the way.
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Format: Audio CD
Canada’s very own Cowboy Junkies have done it again, but not the same again. The first thing that struck me about this album is a seemingly deliberate yet brave choice taken by the CJs, that is, not going for easy options in terms of accessibility, commerciality and immediate appeal. There’s ten tracks in all, the first five tracks on Open are not the easiest of songs to open up to, especially if you are not prepared for them – tracks 6 thru 10 are somewhat easier for people familiar with recent Cowboy Junkies work. Needless to say, after a few listening one of my favorite tracks turns out to be “bread and wine”.
1. i did it all for you – controlled electric guitar feedback, subdued bass, cool pacific coast cymbals, that voice .. oops! Did I put the born-again Velvet Underground/Nico CD on by mistake? Nope, this is the start of the latest CD by the Cowboy Junkies. This is a truly hypnotic track that grows on you the more you listen to it, of particularly note is the use of percussion and the subtle yet moody interwoven guitar work
2. dragging hooks – Another innovative introduction, another set of curiously lyrics and a careful arrangement – this is Quentin Tarantino in music!
3. bread and wine – this must be one of my favorite tracks on the album, I love it, it reminds me of so many great things, like the first time I heard Patti Smiths’ Horses, or great summer rock concerts in the 70’s, and that special Hammond sound combined with Margots vocals that just takes me away to another plane
4. upon still waters – this is dynamic as dynamic can get in this context.
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Format: Audio CD
This cd is not for everyone. If you're looking for catchy, jangley pop hooks-forget it. The radio won't go near this album. could be the best thing put out by this band. First of all, it's a concept album. The first half of the album is about as dark as music can get. Tonight's the Night by Neil Young and Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd are its spiritual brothers in ambience. Soon as we hit track six (the beginning of a lp's "side two") the music turns a corner towards salvation-albeit a bittersweet Cowboy Junkies type of salvation... Two final points- First, it should be listened to closely all the way from beginning to end AT LEAST once. And second, the song "At the Gate" made me gasp and well up with tears the first time I listened to it. So beautiful...Possibly the perfect Cowboy Junkies song.
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Format: Audio CD
You can never go wrong with pizza. When it is bad, its still pretty good, but when its good, its amazing. Thinking of Cowboy Junkies in a similar fashion, I saw a new CJ's album and bought it. The Venus Flytrap on the cover is a very suitable image. It may look like "pizza", it may even smell like "pizza", but it ain't. The first half of the album is a lot of musical "expirementation", which sounds more like someone left the tape rolling while they tuned their guitar and then left the room with the guitar too close to the amp. I got tired of this in the 90's and hoped it had seen its conclusion. I was mistaken.
A few riffs sounded like out-of-context rip-offs from other CJ songs. One song was mixed so horribly that I could not decypher a sing word being sung. While I know this was might have been done on purpose as part of the great "experiment", it just sounds like someone screwed up, especially since the vocals and the lyrics are major reasons why I buy a CJ album. There is not a single song on the album that I really want to hear again. I could go on, but if you've read this far, you get the point.
Obviously, there are some who like to hear a band experimenting, no matter what the result. I prefer to have a band experiment, weed out that which does not work, and put what did work on the album.
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