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Renmin Park

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Editors’ Notes

One can always identity the Cowboy Junkies by the unmistakable vocals of Margo Timmins. She sings with a sweet grace that has always given great heft to the musings of her brother, the Junkies’ guitarist and songwriter, Michael Timmins. This 2010 release was named after the park where Michael spent part of his three months in China while waiting to adopt two children. This cultural shift to the East affected both Michael’s own personal space and his band’s approach, as the tunes ride by with an extra spike in their delivery. The guitars purr with greater intensity, keyboards play towards genuine depth and a series of found sounds add to the atmospheric whirlwind. Michael’s experiences are given a brilliant treatment by Margo, who turns bright and pop for the original Chinese-music tune “My Fall” by Xu Wei and dark and foreboding for “A Few Bags of Grain” and the appropriately-titled “Little Dark Heart.” Chinese songwriter and performing artist Zuoxiao Zuzhou (ZXZZ) adds lyrics and his own vocals to “A Walk In the Park.”

Customer Reviews

Creative and Adventurous

Renmin Park is a Cowboy Junkies album that challenges the listener hear music that doesn't sound like everything else. I find the use of Asian sounds and themes to be fascinating. "Sir Francis Bacon At The Net" and "A Walk In The Park" are great examples of this.

The album also has lots of very accessible songs. "Stranger Here" and "My Fall" are songs that may find their way onto some radio playlists. "Renmin Park", "Little Dark Heart", and "I Can Not Sit Sadly By Your Side" have a classic Cowboy Junkies sound featuring the beautiful voice of Margo Timmins.

An added bonus is the vocal by composer and guitarist Michael on "Renmin Park (revisited)" that gives the song a distinctly Wilco / Jeff Tweedy sound.

Renmin Park is probably not the best album to use as an introduction to Cowboy Junkies. Most people start with the 1988 classic Trinity Session. Their last studio album, 2007's At The End Of Paths Taken is a good introduction to more current Cowboy Junkies music. That said, I highly recommend Renmin Park. It is a creative and adventurous effort by a band that has been making terrific music for 25 years.

Powerful .. Junkies are back

Their "Renmin Park" new release will give u the same feelings u had the first time u heard "Sweet Jane". Yes there are alternative tracks on this release, however the gems found on it "little dark heart" makes it truely Junkies .. Margo puts everything she has behind them as well. You can hear it.....

Great Work

I really liked this recording. Thanks.


Formed: 1985 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although it didn't originally have anything to do with their sound, the Cowboy Junkies' name wound up seeming pretty accurate: their music was grounded in traditional country, blues, and folk, yet drifted along in a sleepy, narcotic haze that clearly bore the stamp of the Velvet Underground. The vast majority of their songs were spare and quiet, taken at lethargic tempos and filled with languid guitars and detached, ethereal vocals courtesy of Margo Timmins. Over the late '80s and '90s, the group...
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