Monday, Aug. 30
Birdy’s has never been so packed, or so somber. The Cowboy Junkies, consistent in their dismal flare, who began their career sorrowfully echoing Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” back into her rightful popularity, played another beautiful show; enough to make you cry, in fact. They were the “opener,” playing several songs as a docile quartet (brother and sister Timmins sat facing one another in a sweet display of sibling respect).
After a 20-minute break they headlined, too, turning it up a notch — one notch — by playing the rest of the set with a full band. The accordion adds so much to their sound, but just once, I’d like to help the Junkies pick up their bootstraps and behold the lighter side of life; best not to listen to them with a glass of wine and a drowsy-formula Benadryl. I’m not complaining; at the show I was, quite honestly, falling asleep. But no one sings more lovely or more courteously than Margo Timmins. Her plaintive, diminutive voice stirred a hollow outlook, but the richness and sheer depth entranced the audience, minus a chatty few on the perimeters.
There’s nothing worse than trying to understand a song’s stated depression while hearing behind you loud people dragging on about their stupid days, even after Margo requested, “Please give me three minutes to sing a quiet song …” The Junkies played many songs off their new album One Soul Now, including the title track, “No Long Journey Home” and “Simon Keeper”: all sleepy but pretty. The highlights were their older numbers, “Horse In The Country” (as happy as it got) off Black Eyed Man; “200 More Miles” off The Trinity Session; and “Sun Comes Up” from The Caution Horses.