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One Soul Now
Artist: Cowboy Junkies
Label: Zoe Records
Length: 10 tracks, 47:15
The Cowboy Junkies have had a difficult career to be sure. In 1988 they released The Trinity Sessions, which is still considered by most to be their best work. They've made several albums since, but nothing seems to be able to match the brilliance found in the early days.
One Soul Now gives Margo Timmins a terrific chance to showcase her gorgeous voice on top of some music and lyrics that works at times and don't at other times. The album opener and title track soars pretty well on the chorus as Margo sings, "I don't understand how these things move the way they do / Collide the way they do / Feel the way they do / When we touch the way we do." The verses almost feel like filler to get to the chorus. The next song "Why This One" dabbles in a bit of funk and disconcerting questions, but never really hits full stride.
For album highlights "Stars of Our Stars" is at the top of the list, an upbeat catchy rocker that can easily become addictive. "Simon Keeper" is one of many songs that plays around with slow bluesy sounds, but it's the one that succeeds over the others. The way the song engages the listener from a philosophical point of view (thanks to the writing of Michael Timmons) is probably what makes it so worthwhile. Margo sings, "Jesus was a carpenter, he died nailed to a wooden cross / Irony oh irony upon me is never lost." Album closer "The Slide" is one of the better songs here, but brings up some strange theology: "Jesus, sweet Jesus if you're listening / Can you pass me to your pa / I'm having a hard time understanding / Why he's so cruel and demanding with his love."
One Soul Now certainly delivers some good moments, but in all it doesn't contain the energy or constant thread throughout to warrant frequent listens in the way that earlier work from the band did. At least this album gives the band a few more solid songs to add to their set list while touring.
Trae Cadenhead 8/8/2004