Sometimes revolutions begin quietly. In 1988, Cowboy Junkies proved that there was an audience waiting for something quiet, beautiful and reflective. The Trinity Session was like a whisper that cut through the noise — and it was compelling. All That Reckoning is the follow up to 2013’s Polaris Music Prize Long-Listed The Kennedy Suite and with it Cowboy Junkies once again gently shake the listener to wake up. Whether commenting on the fragile state of the world or on personal relationships, this new collection of songs encourages the listener to take notice. It also may be the most powerful album Cowboy Junkies have yet recorded.
“It’s a deeper and a more complete record than we’ve ever done before,” says Michael Timmins. “We’ve always tried to make records that are relevant to who we are as people. These songs are about reckoning on a personal level and reckoning on a social level. So much is going on around us right now and nobody knows where it’s going to end up.”
Due out July 13 via Latent Recordings, All That Reckoning was written in places that look out upon water and trees…the songs are about, empty hearts, empty nests, lost paths, lost lives, and all the reckoning that brings about the end of things, and the beginnings of something else. LP title track and first single “All That Reckoning Part 1”, which had its broadcast premiere on The Strombo Show, examines the layers that build up over time and works to strip them away. “We go through life building our protective skins, shields, armour, all the while thinking that we are protecting those we love from the fear and anxieties that roil inside each of us,” says Timmins. “When all we are really doing is systematically shutting those people out, pushing them away. The walls we erect become our emotional prison. If we are lucky, we recognise the destruction early enough. If we are lucky we find our way back.”
Beginning this month, Cowboy Junkies will be on the road throughout North America, with a stop at Massey Hall in Toronto on May 24, and at the Corona Theatre in Montreal on May 26. Full tour dates can be found below with more dates to be added in the near future.
While the Cowboy Junkies music is characteristically easy to listen to, the songs on All That Reckoning are visceral. In true Junkies fashion, the gentleness is juxtaposed with rock that can be jarring.
‘Fear is not so far from hate, so if you get the folks to fear, it only takes one small twist to kick it up a gear,’ sings Margo Timmins in the new song “The Things We Do To Each Other”. “It is the oldest tactic in the playbook of social control”, says Michael Timmins. “Create a culture of fear and then begin to manipulate that fear to distract, divert and divide. Unfortunately, the end result is that fear usually turns to hate and hate is a human emotion that is impossible to predict and control.”
“There’s a line in “When We Arrive”, he continues, “‘Welcome…to the Age of Dissolution’ which has been in my notebook for years. Every time I sit down to write an album I have stared at it and wondered why I wrote it and what it means. Finally, the times have caught up with the line and the Age of Dissolution is upon us. A time where so many personal, social and institutional constructs are crumbling and being devoured by forces that we have wittingly and unwittingly unleashed upon the land.”
Anyone who has been following Cowboy Junkies’ three decade-long journey knows the band has always traveled on its own path. From the auspicious debut of Whites Off Earth Now and the subsequent international breakthrough with The Trinity Session, to the group’s Nomad Series of themed albums (2010-2012), Cowboy Junkies have never let music business trends dictate where the band was headed.
Unlike most long-lasting groups, Cowboy Junkies have never had a break up or taken a sanity-saving hiatus. There’s an appreciation of each other that keeps them constantly working. “It’s that intimacy and understanding of what each one of us brings to the table,” says Michael Timmins. “Even if the world doesn’t know it, we do.”
COWBOY JUNKIES TOUR DATES
May 3 – Geneva, NY – Smith Opera House
May 4 – Tarrytown, NY – Tarrytown Music Hall
May 5 – Annapolis, MD – Ram’s Head
May 6 – Richmond, VA – Tin Pan
May 24 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
May 26 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
July 6 – Albuquerque, NM – ABQ Biopark Zoo
July 8 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
July 9 – Fort Collins, CO – The Armory
July 18 – Lexington, MA – Cary Hall
July 19 – Martha’s Vineyard, MA – Old Whaling Church
July 20 – Portsmouth, NH – The Music Hall
July 22 – New York NY – City Winery
July 23 – New York, NY – City Winery
July 26 – Alexandria, VA – The Birchmere