Tag Archives: Music

Strange Lullabies #2 – The Trinity Session by the Cowboy Junkies

Cover of "The Trinity Session"

A balm for the night

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.


Rest in Peace, Whitney Houston

My Love Is Your Love

My family was hooked on Whitney Houston’s voice from the moment her debut record dropped in 1985. I still remember recording myself on tape singing “Greatest Love of All” and giving it to my mother before I went to spend the summer at my dad’s house. Needless to say, my vocals didn’t compare with Whitney’s but it was the sentiment which counted I guess.

My mother was a big fan of The Bodyguard, which I have to admit is one of my not-so-guilty pleasures as well. Even if you thought her music was too “doctor’s office”, you cannot deny what a powerful instrument she had. “I Will Always Love You” is a testament to that voice. I think people who slated it were probably secretly jealous. You don’t have to be a fan to recognize the breath-taking range of those notes, especially that note. Whitney set a bar so high, even she couldn’t reach it in the end.

Here’s one of my favorite Whitney tracks which kind of says it all. Requiescat in pace, Whitney. – @kroslen