Thirty years ago, in the autumn of 1988, Cowboy Junkies released the album The Trinity Session. It wasn’t the Canadian band’s debut album (that was the provocatively titled Whites Off Earth Now!, issued two years earlier), but most of us at the radio station believed it was. That’s not solely because the band’s debut release was fairly obscure. The Trinity Session felt like the sort of shockingly new record that could only come from a band on its first time out. If music this wise, lovely, and evocative were being created before, wouldn’t we have heard of it?
The title of the The Trinity Session referred to the recording space chosen by the band and producer Peter Moore: Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity. Although hardly raucous punk rockers, the group needed to engage in a little subterfuge to get the church to agree to open up the space, claiming they were a Christian music performers working on a Christmas radio special. Then they settled in a recorded songs by heathens such as Lou Reed.
The Cowboy Junkies’ debut was largely comprised of cover songs. The Trinity Session is best known for another borrowed song, but most of the tracks are originals. Lead singer Margo Timmins and her guitarist brother, Michael, were inspired by classic country music, giving many of the new songs a tinge of timelessness. “Misguided Angel” could have been pulled straight from a book of storied songs that define a certain slice of Americana. And in the tender rendering on the album, the loveliness is almost overwhelming.
Listen or download —> Cowboy Junkies, “Misguided Angel”
(Disclaimer: I prefer excavating songs from out of print releases for this weekly feature. I didn’t check, but surely The Trinity Session doesn’t actually qualify under my primary guideline. Assuming it can be purchased from your favorite local, independently owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said shop and the original artist, the sharing of the track is encouragement to do so, not an alternative to such commerce. I believe the sharing of the file here constitutes fair use, but I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this song from my little corner or the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)