Cowboy Junkies will release Such Ferocious Beauty on June 2 2023 via Cooking Vinyl. This is the band’s first release of new material in five years and follows their heralded 2022 collection of covers, Songs of the Recollection. Such Ferocious Beauty is vintage Cowboy Junkies and another dimension from the lo-fi Canadian band comprised of siblings Margo, Michael and Peter Timmins and lifelong friend Alan Anton. Beauty is a rumination on aging, losing parents, facing mortality and creating space for one’s life in the midst of the ruin that comes from merely living.
For Beauty, Michael Timmins stresses that he and Margo spent more time working through the songs, letting her interpretations really settle before taking them into the studio. And once in the studio, he worked with Alan and Peter to create even more dynamic tracks than usual.
“This is a different kind of recording; there’s a denseness to it. In many ways the music, the choice of certain structures, the tones used become as important in communicating the albums themes as do the lyrics. “The songs are expressions of Mike’s soul”, says Margo Timmins, “but once written, once he gives them to me, to the band, and eventually the audience, there is no right or wrong interpretation.”
‘What I Lost’, the first emphasis track reflects on the last several months of the Timmins’ father’s life. The song is a reflection on conversations that Michael had with his father during his battle with dementia, “memories of his flying days as a bush pilot in northern Quebec and his love of jazz and his experiences of seeing the great big bands of the 50’s would often work their way into our conversations. I would often think about all of those memories and experiences that were slowly being eaten away by the dementia and would eventually completely disappear with his death. Lines like “This is what I lost” and “I can sit here and wait” from ‘What I Lost’ and ‘Shadows 2’ are not so much about him, but about me”.
The song is captured in a video for which Peter Timmins created an artistic interpretation of the effects of dementia on the person and those around them.
“The man in the video is our father”, says Michael Timmins, “sitting in his living room listening to Duke Ellington…I’m not sure what he is thinking. The colour “super 8” footage is from the late 50’s taken in Montreal and Magog Quebec by our Grandfather (our Mom’s dad). The people in it are my Dad, Mom and Aunt (Mom’s sister)…there are some quick glances of our oldest brother and an Uncle (my Mom’s brother). There are also a few quick flashes of family pics of all the kids (us and our siblings).”
Within our own humanity there is great heartache and misery but also great joy and comfort. There is nothing more humbling to me than the ferocious beauty we live amongst, including life and death.” Margo Timmins
Artists’ website: https://cowboyjunkies.com/
Album Pre Order link: https://cbj.lnk.to/suchferociousbeautyPR
‘What I Lost’ – official video: