To me, every record has a time of day, season and even day of the week.
But there are some records that represent the night so much, I can’t even listen to them unless it’s almost midnight or before the sun rises. Few records encapsulate the night as perfectly as Trinity Session by Cowboy Junkies. Margo Timmins’ voice lulls you in from the start. From the mournfully spare a cappella “Mining for Gold” until the sultry strut of “Walking After Midnight” – once you start to listen, you just can’t switch it off until the very end.
I was in high school when Trinity Session came out, and almost immediately, I thought it was one of the most beautiful records I’d ever heard. It was so alien to me. It was so quiet. Almost everything in the 1980s mainstream was about bombastic rock, power ballads or over the top pop. All of sudden, here was a group with a singer who sang so softly, you had to strain to hear her. I remember the first single was “Sweet Jane”. Everything about it was so minimal. I wasn’t yet familiar with the Velvet Underground so had no idea it was a cover. But as much as I’ve come to love Lou Reed and his former band, I still prefer the Cowboy Junkies’ version.
The highlight of Trinity Session (so named because it was recorded in a church), though, is “Blue Moon Revisited”. It’s maudlin and sexy at the same time. And I’ve always been a sucker for songs which could soundtrack an Edward Hopper painting.
Nearly 25 years later, Trinity Session is still as night-time as it ever was.